2nd Annual Community Apple Festival at Turkey Hill Farm Slated For October 10
Freshly-pressed cider and boiled cider syrup are cause for celebration at Turkey Hill Farm in Randolph Center! Abandoned apples, collected from the Kibbee Road neighborhood in Brookfield (and some from Champlain Orchards due to the May frost), are brought to Turkey Hill Farm in Randolph Center to be cut, ground, pressed, and bottled into cider, as well as boiled into a concentrated apple cider syrup. Accomplished with the help of many neighbors and friends, this fall ritual has grown into an annual Columbus Day weekend event, open to the community and area visitors. The festival, now in its second year, takes place on Sat, Oct 9 and Sun, Oct 10 from 10-4 PM and is sponsored by four neighboring farms, Brookfield Bees, Spruce Lane Farm, Fat Toad Farm and Turkey Hill Farm—many of them members of the newly formed Floating Bridge Food & Farms Cooperative.
Folks are invited to come to Turkey Hill Farm to watch apples being ground and pressed into raw, unpasturized cider; fresh cider evaporated into syrup over a wood-fired arch in the sugarhouse; Old German-style and boiled cider donuts being made; and demos on cooking with boiled cider. Cider, boiled cider syrup, as well as lunch items and apple goodies from The Farmers Kitchen, along with local farm products will also be available for purchase.
Brookfield residents Dan Childs, a beekeeper from Brookfield Bees, and John Lipkvich, a horticulturist from Spruce Lane Farm, started collecting abandoned wild apples to press into cider in 2007. With the help of neighbors, they made about 50 gallons of cider. Doubling their yield the following year, they also began boiling the cider down into a cider syrup.
According to Dan Childs, “In 2009 we picked many more apples, and expected to press around 300 gallons of cider, as well as boil a lot more apple cider syrup. We also wanted to invite the public to take part in the fun. As a result, we moved our operation to Stuart and Margaret Osha's Turkey Hill Farm in Randolph Center. In addition to fresh cider and apple cider syrup, we set aside about 15 gallons to make apple wine. Stuart and Margaret spread the word among their raw milk and ‘Moo-tique’ customers, and about 100 people came to help us celebrate the ‘king of fruit’."
“We do sugaring here at the farm, so when the cider event moved to Turkey Hill, it only seemed natural to start doing boiled cider the way the old timers did, by boiling it on the sugaring arch. After experimenting and refining our efforts last year, we will now be boiling on the sugaring arch—fired with wood! This process creates a wonderful flavored apple syrup, great for use in cooking, salad dressings, and desserts,” comments Stuart Osha of Turkey Hill Farm.
Traditional farm cook Margaret Osha, who teaches cooking classes in The Farmer’s Kitchen at Turkey Hill Farm, will prepare Old-style German donuts as well as boiled cider donuts (10-11 AM)—a perfect accompaniment to a glass of hot or cold cider! Festival goers can watch as the donuts are rolled, shaped and deep-fried in lard rendered from pigs raised on the farm. She’ll also demonstrate how to make salad dressings, marinades, and apple desserts with boiled apple cider (2-3 PM).
There will be lots to eat for hungry visitors, who can purchase donuts, lunch items (starting at 11 AM) featuring ingredients from Turkey Hill Farm, as well as raw unpasturized cider, boiled cider syrup, and local farm products to include: Fat Toad Farm’s goat’s milk cheese and caramel, Brookfield Bees’ honey products and soaps, Spruce Lane Farm’s handcrafted floral wreaths, Beidler Family Farm’s wheat and spelt flour, and Neighborly Farm’s organic cheddar.
Margaret Osha said, “Join us in celebrating the bounty and beauty of the fall harvest season. This will be a authentic opportunity to experience the history of apple pressing and the nearly forgotten art of making boiled cider. The aromas and flavors of this time of the year are every bit as exciting to the senses as maple sugaring is to us in the spring.”
The festival takes place rain or shine and admission is free of charge. For festival details and directions to Turkey Hill Farm visit www.turkeyhillfarmvt.com or call 802-728-7064.