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Apple Cider?

The "Apple Picking" thread today reminded me that I'd be interested in hearing if there are any local apple cider producers near Boston? I've bought the stuff in Whole Foods and Shaw's but those same old labels are starting to remind me of things I've disliked, so I'd be interested in any other producers you 'hounds might suggest. I'd generally prefer cider without preservatives, the fermenting kind (though I do try to drink it prior to the bubbles). Thanks.

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  1. In order to get unpasteurized - living - cider instead of cloudy apple juice (which is what pasteurized apple "cider" really is), you have to go to the orchard. FDA rules about 5 years ago prohibited the sale of living cider off-premises. Stupid, stupid, stupid FDA.

    So close depends on which side of Boston you prefer to acces - north, west or south....

    7 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      If you want the best apple cider you have ever tasted... Go to Bolton Orchards. It's co clear, crisp and clean that you will think you are drinking Champagne. It's that good. I have never seen or tasted one like this. It's unique.

      1. re: hoplover

        So I drove all the way out to Bolton Orchards, 117 is a nice driving road BTW, but the 'cider' is apple juice -- filtered and preserved with sodium benzoate... not fresh apple cider at all. My quest will continue next weekend I guess.

        1. re: steinpilz

          steinpilz, I am sorry I did not realize that! I still really like it. Did you taste it?

          1. re: hoplover

            No problem hoplover, it was a great day and nice drive. I bought a quart and it's not bad, has an applely tang that I like. Fresh cider is great though, you get to enjoy the fermented form too!

      2. re: Karl S

        And even at the orchard it's getting harder and harder to find unpasteurized cider. Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury and Russell Orchards in Ipswich are the two places I was definitely able to find it last year- and it freezes well, so stock up!

        1. re: Chris VR

          Yes, it's now available at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury.

          1. re: Chris VR

            When I was in high school my Dad and I drove to Frederick MD (McCutchen's orchard) and bought 50 gallon jugs of fresh cider which we froze in a freezer in the basement and drank over the next 12 months... thus my quest to find some good cider now. You guys know what I'd talking about and all these suggestions sound great.

        2. Best cider I've had in a long time comes from Mt Tirem up in Maine. They sell cider made with the early Ginger Gold apples. Could easily drink a whole quart in a setting.

          Locally, I am impressed with the cider at Honeypot.

          1. Perhaps too far away for you, but just over the NH/Mass border both Lull Farm in Hollis NH and Carrier Orchard in Merrimack NH have cider presses and sell their own fresh pressed unpasteurized cider, you can watch them do it if your timing is right. (personally I think calling pasteurized-apple-juice "cider" is a felony, but clearly the USDA disagrees). These two orchards also offer PYO apples, and if you are not into that, pre-picked. Lull has a wider selection of apple varieties and a very sophisticated farm stand, but Carrier has the charm of an old fashion Mom & Pop operation.

            1. I've had good unpasteurized cider this season from both Honeypot Hill (Stow) and Russell Orchards (Ipswich). My old favorite which I haven't had in a couple seasons is from Derby (also Stow).

              1. Dowse Orchards in Sherborn, MA, on Rt. 27. www.dowseorchards.com They don't pasteurize but do run it through an ultra-violet light process, which in my opinion doesn't affect the taste. They also don't start pressing until the end of Sept./beginning of Oct. because they want to have a good mix of different apples for a full flavor.

                I moved to Vermont 4 years ago and I've yet to find a cider here that can measure up to Dowse's. Although, I am able to buy unpasteurized cider here (not directly from the orchard)--not sure if it's UV treated--label doesn't say it is, so maybe Vermont is a cider-haven.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dukegirl

                  Actually, it's an FDA (national) rule. States can be stricter (some states, for example, ban orchards from selling real cider), but not less strict. Count yourself lucky or you are getting UV-treated.

                  How readily does UV-treated cider ferment? I usually leave my unpasteurized cider in the sealed bottle for 3+ weeks, until it starts to bulge a bit; I shake it every 2-3 days to keep the sediment in play, as it were.