Getting Out: Franklin County Cider Days
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Here in Southern New England it is peak apple cider season. The first frost has fallen and apple orchards are using all the freshest apples to mill out delicious apple cider. Not to worry, Franklin County has got you covered with a festival that celebrates all things apple.
Cider Days, a Franklin County tradition, commemorates the apple with two full days of celebration. The event is being held this year on November 2-3.
The main hub of the event will be at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center, but apple orchards and satellite festival areas throughout the region will offer several events for festival attendees.
The festival truly has something for everyone. Apple lovers will get a chance to taste several varieties of cider including hard cider, sweet cider, and more. More than ten local orchards and cider mills, located all over Franklin County, will be in attendance.
If cider doesn’t quite do it for you, make sure to check out all of the other products produced by the orchards. Jams, wines, pies and honey—just to name a few— will be available for tasting and purchase.
Some highlights of the festival include the Cider Salon (a cider tasting featuring ciders from across North America), the Cider Days Locavore Harvest Supper, the Apple Pancake Breakfast and more!
Check out the slides below to browse events at orchards that are participating in Cider Days, as well as some close to home Central MA favorites.
Click here for a full schedule of Cider Days events and locations.
Bear Swamp Orchard
Head down to Bear Swamp Orchard during the festival for a special apple treat! Taste sweet organic cider and bring home a delicious apple baked good! Kids will especially love checking out the manual apple press that visitors will be invited to try out for themselves! 1209 B Hawley Rd., Ashfield. (413) 625-2849, 413-768-7989.
Photo: Lola Audu/flickr
Clarkdale Fruit Farm
This apple season, heirloom fruit has become all the rage. Clarkdale Fruit Farm in Deerfield has long been churning out premiere heirloom apples on their 95 year old orchard. Take a drive to the farm during cider days and sample over 35 varieties of apples and apple cider. 303 Upper Road, Deerfield. (413) 772-6797.
Photo: Richard Dipfan/flickr
Brook Farm Orchard
Brook Farm Orchard in Ashfield is another Franklin County orchard that is notorious for their variety of heirloom apples. During Cider days, visitors will have a chance to learn about and taste the several heirloom apples grown at the orchard, as well as try out the antique wooden apple press on site. 947 Apple Valley Road, Ashfield. (413) 625-9615.
Artisan Beverage Co-op
Artisan Beverage Cooperative in Greenfield will offer alternatives to apple cider during the festival. During the festival, head over to the co-op and taste mead! Mead is a fermented wine that is made from honey! Visitors will have the opportunity to attend a tasting session and tour the meadery to watch the fermentation process. 324 Wells Street, Greenfield.
Headwater Cider Company
To enjoy a great tour of a local orchard and cider mill during Cider Days, look to Headwater Cider Company in Hawley. On the Sunday of the festival, Peter Mitchell of Headwater Cider Company will be offering tours to show visitors all the ins and outs of cider making. 112 Forget Road, Hawley. (413) 695-6099.
Photo: Ben Garney/flickr
Have you ever wondered how cider is made? Sure, everyone knows it gets pressed and somehow ends up in a glass on the dinner table, but what really goes into the process? Apex Orchards in Shelburne will give you a chance to find out. On the Sunday of the festival at 12:30, Charlie Olchowski will present on making barrel cider at the orchard. Of course, tasting will be available as well! 153 Peckville Road, Shelburne. (413) 625-2744.
Photo: Kathie Lapcevic/flickr
Bolton Orchards is well known throughout Massachusetts for their distinctive cider—but who knew that they actually press a special late fall cider? From Mid-October to late December, Bolton Orchards presses Golden Russet, a unique sweet yellow cider. This is a lighter cider, and availability is limited due to the quantity of fruit available for making this special drink. Go to the orchard soon to grab some to bring home! 125 Still River Road, Bolton. (978) 779-2733.
Photo: Kristen Taylor/flickr
Cider Hill Farm
Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury is an orchard and cider mill that is dedicated to crop diversity, delicious cider and family fun! Take a trip to Cider Hill this weekend to taste some fresh cider paired with a hot apple cider donut. There is still time to pick some late season heirloom apple to stash away for your Thanksgiving pies and apple treats! The orchard often hosts weekend events, so check them out on Facebook to keep informed! 45 Fern Ave., Amesbury. (978) 388-5525.
Photo: Ben Garney/flickr
Located just a short drive from Worcester, Breezeland Orchards in Warren is a cider lover’s paradise. Fresh apple cider is pressed on site in the cider house, where visitors can go to watch the cider get pressed! The country farm stand also offers delicious apple cider donuts, honey, maple syrup and so much more. This family-friendly apple destination is a step back to a simpler time and is sure to be enjoyed by all. 1791 Southbridge Street, Warren. (413) 436-7122.
Enjoy a day in a quaint New England country setting at Brookfield Orchards in North Brookfield. A playground and plenty of room for kids to play is located right outside the country store. Apple cider, apples, fresh hot kettle corn and more is available for enjoyment! Especially appealing to families with little ones is the selection of penny candy! 12 Lincoln Road, North Brookfield. (508) 867-6858.
Photo: Liz West/flickr