Debi Stephens knows apples. "You have to have some depth to the cider to make a nice blend," she said. "There is an art to it."

She spends a good deal of time in the orchards she manages. "The only time I'm not in an orchard is four months out of the year," she said.

Even in the dead of winter, she said, it is beautiful being in an orchard.

On this foggy fall morning, brilliant yellow and red leaves adorn Morse Road, where today, Ken Lamson of New Beat Farm and Stephens are custom pressing for Ed Lutjens of Portland. Lutjens is a barrel-maker who is a friend of Lamson's, and is also trying his hand at making hard cider.

Pressed for Cider, now in its second year, is an apple business where customers can bring their own apples to be pressed, or they can sample and mix from the variety on hand to make custom blends. Stephens and Lamson encourage people to taste the different varieties before mixing.

Early Mac, Cortland, Paul Red, Northern Spy, Pippin, Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious, Idared and Wealthy apples, Stephens said, are some of the varieties to mix and match.

According to the website, Stephens met Lamson and Adrianne Lee, owners of New Beat Farm, and quickly realized they had common interests in organic farming. Over a glass of cider they started to plan, and with much encouragement from others, established Pressed for Cider.

"We meet a lot of really great people," Stephens said, noting reactions are the best is after the apples have been pressed and people take their fist sip of the blend they've developed.

The entire operation is chemical-free, she said, and "In 2019 we will apply for a Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association certification. MOFGA is such a great resource to have."

The large machine that takes up an entire side of the pressing room is Stephen's 1950s electric Palmer Press. Lamson dons hearing protection, switches on the press and the magic begins.

On one side of the assembly is a bin where washed apples are loaded onto a conveyor that transports them to the top of the machine. Here, they are unloaded into a hopper and then ground up. The "mash" is then put on a tray with a mesh cloth and stacked up with other trays. Finally, when several trays are stacked together, a press squeezes out the sweet cider.

Lamson said cider is available at New Beat Farm's booth at United Farmer's Market of Maine in Belfast on Saturdays, or by calling in orders.

Pressed for Cider is open on Fridays and Sundays by appointment through Thanksgiving.

They are located at New Beat Farm, an organic vegetable, flower and sheep farm, at 55 Morse Road, Knox. For an appointment, call 333-7583 or