Brookfield, New Hampshire, c. 1840
On a small parcel of land next to the barnyard of the Salem Towne House sits the apple orchard. Just beyond it is the Cider Mill, one of the few in New England that has survived. The building still boasts an original cider press with massive oak screws.
Cider mills operated throughout New England in September and October, converting most of the region’s apple crops into cider using horse-powered crushers and hand-operated screw presses. After bringing barrels of cider home to their cellars, New England farmers intentionally let it turn “hard,” or alcoholic, to preserve it. Cider was the region’s most common beverage.