News From The
How Safe is Your Apple Cider?
According to our own cider
industry, made up of the counties largest cider producers,
if the apple cider you are drinking is not pasteurized then
you are putting yourself and family member at risk of
illness. This is a complicated issue. The apple
industries own national organization, US Apple, is lobbying
states and the federal governments to ban the sale and
consumption of unpasteurized cider. Is unpasteurized
apple cider a danger to consumers?
Unlike larger cider mills,
Charlton Orchards Farm, uses only our own apples, washes and
grades the apples before crushing, and any and all
questionable apples are composted. Nathan Benjamin, Sr., has
been utilizing this method of cider production for over 45
years, with no reports of any health issues by consumers.
So why ban unpasturiezed apple cider? The largest
issue is that even a small health outbreak would cripple the
cider industry, and the big guys need protection.
The other smaller issue is, that, people need to be
protected from themselves. Such as seat belt laws.
Small mom and pop apple
cider producers want to protect their customers, but in many
cases, pasteurizers cost ten of thousands of dollars to
install and operate. Most small producers are lucky to make
a few thousand dollars selling their cider. Small
producers like Charlton Orchards Farm also believe that
stringent sanitation practices consistently produce safe
apple cider without pasteurization.
What about the other issue
of pesticide residue in apple cider? Pasteurization
does not address that issue. Only good IPM practices
assure the cider is clean of pesticide residues.
In 2004, the
Massachusetts Department of Public Health purchased pears
and apple from us for testing of pesticide
residues. The inspector introduced himself while
in our store and bought apples and pears from our shelves
just like any other customer. The results report
stated that the testing was completed by the FDA’s
laboratory, using the latest methods available for the
detection of pesticides and pesticide residues. The
report stated that no pesticide residues were detected,
in our fruit. Although the FDA
allows some pesticide residuals to be present, our fruit was
residue free. No pesticides detected.
The report made us very
happy. We practice IPM, Integrated Pest Management.
IPM in simple terms is the use of pesticides only when
insects or fungal diseases are present. We spray our
orchards less and continue to find safer chemicals to use
What is the film on
We have been asked each year
about the film found on the outside of an apple. The
public has wrongly identified this pectin film coating as
spray residue. It is in fact pectin. A natural
wax substance produced by the apple to protect the apple’s
skin from insects and fungal diseases. We hope
that the report from the FDA labs will aid our customers in
feeling better about the produce and cider they purchase
from our farm store.
side note,…the CDC has recently reported in a report on food
pathogens on produce, that an apples purchased from a
grocery store, may have been handled by as many as 14
different people. If you pick your own, you will be
the first person to handle the fruit, and if you buy apples
in our store, only one or two of our employees have handled
the apples after going through our wash tank.
Our farm Turns 274 Years Old
This year 2012,
our farm turned 279 years old. The orchard operations
is now 63 years old and our winery celebrates 13 years this
year. (10 years open to the public). Those of you who
visit often have seen quite a few changes over the last few
years, and we are still changing.
Remember.....The Blueberry Festival, August 13, 2005
Everyone that attended our
festival had a great time despite the extreme heat.
Highs that day were at 94 degrees. Between 125 and 150
brave souls ventured out to enjoy the bluegrass music with
Orchard Grass and the Grass Routes.
44 Old Worcester Road
Charlton, MA 01507
Phone (508) 248-7820