In New England, cider making is to autumn what maple sugaring is to spring. However, 19th-century farmers would not recognize the sweet cider we enjoy from farm stands today. Cider in the 1800s was not merely the apple juice, but was fermented "squeezings" from apples, which meant the cider would keep through the spring planting, summer heat and into the harvesting of the next apple season.
Ripe and redolent apples are still a favorite sign of fall in New England today. Enjoy the crisp autumn days at Old Sturbridge Village with special events throughout our Apple Days celebration.
Throughout the day, our interpreters will be cooking and preserving this special fall fruit and operating the ox-powered Cider Mill. See a schedule for Saturday, September 24 or Sunday, September 5. Schedules for October 1-2 will be up soon.
Did you know?
- The most common fruit in 19th century New England was the apple. Most farms had orchards of 100-300 trees or more!
- Early apples produced a cider that fermented in six weeks to two months.
- Early New England cider had an alcohol content of 4 - 8 percent, which preserved the cider throughout the year.
- Most 19th-century farm families went through 10 barrels of apple cider a year, each containing 32 gallons.
- Even children drank "hard" cider, although it may have been watered down for younger children.
- Most popular apple varieties of the early 19th-century were different from today. Some of the most popular were Winter apples, Porter apples, Pearmain apples, and Sopsavine apples.
This event is proudly sponsored by:
Thanks to the following orchards for helping supply the Village with certain varieties of apples:
The Apple Place in East Longmeadow MA
Scott Farm in Dummerston VT
Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton MA
Alyson's Orchard in Walpole, NH
Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, MA
Add an overnight stay at the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges. (OSV Member discounts available.)
Find more useful information for planning your visit.