Dec 11, 2014
Engelsma’s Apple Barn wins best cider in state for fifth year

Jim and Becky Engelsma and their daughter Bridget of Engelsma’s Apple Barn in Walker, Michigan, took home first place in the 18th annual Michigan Apple Cider Contest.

The contest took place in Grand Rapids on Dec. 10, with 30 cider makers participating. This year marks the fifth time Engelsma’s Apple Barn has taken home the trophy.

“This competition started 19 years ago with three goals: To help promote our fine Michigan apple cider industry, to improve the quality of our cider and to provide additional educational and learning opportunities for our cider makers. We’ve come a long way,” said Bob Tritten, district fruit educator with Michigan State University Extension and founder of the contest. “For this year’s contest, we had 30 entries from across the state of Michigan. Judging took place with the help of nine judges that worked hard to choose the best of the best Michigan ciders.”

Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill of Armada and its cider makers Pete and Paul Blake won second place in the contest. The third-place winner is Klein Cider Mill in Sparta, and cider maker Stephen Klein.

“Michigan’s cider makers put a lot of hard work into their cider,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, co-sponsor of the contest. “Most of them grow the apples and work for years on just the right mix of varieties. The contestants take this competition very seriously. We are proud that Michigan can boast so many delicious ciders.”

Tritten began the Michigan Apple Cider Contest in 1996 to improve cider making, promote the industry and educate the public. The contest is sponsored by the Michigan Apple Committee, the Michigan State Horticultural Society and Fruit Growers News.

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