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Sparta, Mich.-based Riveridge Produce Marketing is getting into the fresh cider business with the opening of Riveridge Cider Co. in Grant, Mich.

The 17,400-square-foot facility went fully operational this week and can produce 30,000 gallons of cider a day, and will offer blended cider as well as varietal blends of fuji, gala and Honeycrisp, according to a news release.

Riveridge this spring hired operations manager Eric Rockafellow, who has 22 years of experience in cider production. He oversaw the conversion of existing controlled atmosphere storage facilities into a year-round cider production operation, according to the release.

“Building a cidery from scratch provides a number of opportunities to pick and choose what’s important when it comes to equipment, variety blends, etc., to make the cider we want to make — one with consistent flavor no matter the time of year,” Rockafellow said in the release.

The operation features German pressing equipment, stainless steel mixing and holding tanks, a continuous cold chain and an in-house lab for monitoring quality and food safety, according to the release.

“Thanks to our many years in the produce business and the invaluable relationships, we felt we were uniquely positioned to market and grow Michigan cider,” said Don Armock, president of Riveridge Produce Marketing, in the release.

The first blended gallons and half gallons of cider were set to roll off the line Sept. 8, with the varietal blends coming as fuji, gala and Honeycrisp varieties are harvested.

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