Morning Star cider press could be as old as both communities
• Here's a color slide of Morning Star cider press taken by Paul Diller in the early 1950s.
• Watch a video on the cider press by clicking here.
The Morning Star cider press is, well, probably as old as Bluffton and Pandora. It is certainly the oldest continually-operated enterprise in both communities and perhaps the oldest in northwestern Ohio.
Owned today by Suter Produce and located on Road R, Pandora, it is now open for the season.
We found a story from the Aug 8, 1957, Bluffton News, that shares some background on the business. That information follows:
In 1957, Seth Basinger, 81-year-old Pandora farmer, had been in the business 42 years.
Seth went into the cider business with his friend and partner, Sam Amstutz.
They operated the mill at first on the J.U. Amstutz farm, where Seth says cider had been pressed from apples of local orchards for nearly 100 years.
When Amstutz died in 1927, Basinger moved the Morning Star press to his farm and has operated it there ever since.
In 1957, his son, Clyde, handled most of the operation, but Seth still oversees the work and invites everyone he sees to “come over for a drink.”
At the time the Pandora man began process apples, the juice brought a grand price of two cents per gallon. Seth recalls that when the price went to five cents people grumbled.
Today’s owners – Suter Produce
You may not believe this, but Jerry, Nancy and Tom Suter are in their 47th year operating the cider press.
Jerry bought the business when he was a senior in college in 1976.
“Our press was started in 1888, in Columbus Grove. We have records from that company,” he said.
The cider press, located at 4678 Road R, Pandora, is now open daily from 1 to 6 p.m. to purchase cider. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 7 p.m. The corn maze and hayrides are open on weekends from 1 to 6 p.m.
For current details on the cider press, corn made and all the fall activities at Suter Produce, click here.