When the leaves start to turn, you start craving a cup of sweet, local apple cider.
Apple pies, apple fritters, apple turnovers, cold cider, hard cider or hot cider, the taste of fall is everywhere in New England. September 30 is National Hot Mulled Apple Cider Day and it’s the perfect time to stop at a farm, pick some pumpkins or stroll through the apple orchard. Many orchards offer family activities, including pumpkin patch and corn mazes, as well as their cider. Some, like Hogan’s Cider Mill, have an adult tap room offering hard cider and cider slush.
Here are some places in Connecticut to pick up a gallon of local, farm-grown cider.
The Old Cider Mill in Glastonbury not only has its delicious cider – the mill is known as the oldest working cider mill in the United States – but also donuts and a petting zoo. While shopping for a gallon of sweet cider, shop around for fall decorations, pumpkins, chrysanthemums, corn stalks and straw bales. The shop inside also sells fries and salsa, local honey, fudge, maple syrup and more.
At Gotta’s Farm and Cider Mill in Portland, collect your cider with pies, breads, cookies, your Christmas tree, plants, other fruits and more. The farm also hosts pick-your-own apples, strawberries, peaches and pears in season.
Bishop’s Orchard in Guilford has a bit for everyone, including cider, wine, a farmer’s market, pick-your-own and more. Bishop’s Orchard is known for its cider which it started making in the late 1930’s. Bishop’s Orchard uses a mix of apple varieties so their cider is unique to the orchard. They sell a size of cider to suit every household, from a gallon container to a collection of 6 bottles of Chugger cider.
BF Clyde’s cider house in Mystic is the oldest steam cider house in the United States. The mill was started in the 1880s and is a National Historic Landmark. In addition to traditional cider, the mill also sells hard cider, wine, cider fritters and other local products. The way the mill makes its cider hasn’t changed since the first day it opened. During your visit, you can watch a cider-making demonstration, taste wine or hard cider, and snack on cider donuts.
Roger’s Orchard has two locations in Southington. Established in 1809, pick up some of their other fruits while getting your cider, including tomatoes and sweet corn. You may also be familiar with Roger’s Orchard cider, as it is also stocked in local grocery stores.
Lyman Orchards in Middlefield has a wide assortment of apple products, including their classic cider. The farm is more of a fun, family destination. They also sell pies, cider donuts, muffins, cookies, breads, pastries, and other desserts. The store is stocked with cheeses, milk, eggs, meats, specialty foods, jams, jellies, sauces, condiments and mixes.
Beardsley’s Cider Mill in Shelton makes its cider in the classic way. The cider is 100% juice and made from healthy, ripe apples that may have been too small to sell by the bag. They use a state-of-the-art system to squeeze the apples while keeping the system clean and hygienic. While you’re there, also pick your own apples to take home.
Hogan’s Cider Mill in Burlington is well known for its cider. Have you ever heard of a cider granita? You can get one here. Hogan’s has a Mill Shop downstairs and an upstairs Tap Room for adults. In addition to cider, they sell cider donuts, pumpkins, baked goods, crafts, shots, and hard cider.