November 3rd - 5th, 2017
Thanks to everyone — the myriad attendees, producers, orchards, venues, and volunteers — who participated in what many folks have told us was the best CiderDays ever (and we agree!). We had a great time and hope you did, too!
If you missed it, peruse the highlights below or take a look at the 2017 schedule and make plans to join us next year on the first weekend of November. Check out our video (thanks, TOLD Video!) to see what makes CiderDays a can't miss event. And you'll find photos and videos from this year's CiderDays on our Facebook page.
What is CiderDays?
CiderDays is an annual community celebration of all things apple in beautiful Franklin County, Massachusetts. 2017 marked our 23rd year with tours, cidermaking and tastings, workshops and much more in orchards and venues county-wide from Ashfield, Deerfield, Turners Falls, Charlemont and Colrain to New Salem and the towns in between. Whether you are a cider aficianado (hard or sweet), make your own cider, are an orchardist, like hanging out in bucolic orchards, or just enjoy soaking up all the goodness of autumn in New England, CiderDays is your event!
There is a charge for some of the events but many of the workshops and activities at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center and at local orchards are completely FREE.
- Sixth Annual CiderDays Amateur Cider Competition - an AHA/BJCP sanctioned event open to any amateur cidermaker age 21 or older — will be held December 2017, roughly one month after CiderDays. This will allow cidermakers attending this years CiderDays to drop entries at the event rather than sending them via UPS. Registration for the CiderDays Amateur Cider Competition is now open on the competition website, and will close on November 18, 2017. Judging takes place December 2nd.
Workshops, Talks and Tastings from beginner through advanced for cider makers, home orchardists and cider afficionados at orchards (Saturday and Sunday) and at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls (Saturday) FREE (taste hard cider with the purchase of a $5 glass)
- Friday night event — How to Taste Hard Cider with Eric West and Nicole Leibon from 6:30 - 8:00pm at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center (formerly the Arts Block) in Greenfield, MA. Cider educator Eric West and Nicole Leibon of Farnum Hill Ciders will focus on the thought process behind tasting and evaluating cider, then will guide the participants through a tasting of various cider styles. Light hors d'oeuvres served. SOLD OUT
The Cider Salon — the world's longest-running hard cider tasting with more than 90 individual cider brands from across North America and Europe. This year, the Salons will be held in a large tent in Unity Park, on the Connecticut River in Turners Falls, featuring easy access from Route 2 and I-91. Convenient parking in lots across and next to the venue and on the side streets in Turners Falls. Two sessions — 3:30 - 5:00 and 5:45 - 7:15 (Saturday) SOLD OUT
Perry Tasting with Tom Oliver, Oliver's CIder & Perry, Herefordshire, UK, Sunday 11:30am - 12:30pm at the Deerfield Community Center in Historic Deerfield $30/ticket SOLD OUT
- Specialty Cider Tasting with author/cider expert Ben Watson, Sunday from 1:00 - 2:00pm at the Deerfield Community Center in Historic Deerfield. Join cider expert and author Ben Watson and Lauren Shepard of Shelton Brothers Importers for a presentation of ciders that feature ingredients other than apples (herbs, fruits, spices, and more) that are added either during or after fermentation. More and more craft producers are making unique ciders these days, and this taste workshops offers a range of hard-to-find brands. $30/ticket SOLD OUT
- Making Spanish Style Cider (Sidra) in America Discussion and Tasting — Cidermakers Scott Heath (Tilted Shed, CA), Ryan Burk (Angry Orchard, NY), John Reynolds (Black Duck Cidery, NY), cidermaker/restauranteur Sam Fix (ANXO, Washington DC), and beverage director Brian Rutzen (The Northman, Chicago, IL) will join moderator Darlene Hayes in a lively discussion about the American interpretation of Spanish sidra, with samples to try, of course. Sunday from 2:30 - 3:30 at the Deerfield Community Center in Historic Deerfield. $30/ticket SOLD OUT
- Beginner's Cider Making Workshop with Bob Delisle and Charlie Olchowski on Saturday morning from 8:30 - 10:30am at Pine Hill Orchards — this is a hands-on beginner's cider making workshop. The fee covers instructions and materials for making your first batch of cider. Materials: plastic fermenter, 5 gallon glass carboy, bored stopper, airlock, 6' syphon hose, 30" racking tube and bottle brush, plus sweet cider. You'll leave the workshop with your first batch of hard cider well under way. $85/ticket SOLD OUT
New Salem Preserves and Orchards hosts its Cider and Apple Festival with child-friendly apple pressing. Farm products, along with exhibits from local artisans, will be displayed within the courtyard of the cider mill. You will also have the ever-present breathtaking view of the Quabbin Reservoir and beyond. FREE. Workshops offered (also free):
Saturday 1:00-2:00 — Basic Apple Tree Pruning with Steve Weisman
Saturday 2:30-3:30 — Tending Backyard Apple Trees with Steve Lanphear
Sunday 11:00 - 12:00 — Learn to Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar, Health Tonics and Herbal Oxymels with Laura Ketteringham and Curt Sherrer
Sunday 12:00 - 1:00 — Culinary Uses of Cider Syrup: A natural, versatile sweetener, with Terry McCue
Sunday 1:00-2:30 — Home Hard Cider Makers Workshop; Make & Taste with April Woodard — Bring your own hard cider for a group tasting/discussion and also watch a demonstration of how to make your own.
Sunday 3:00 - 4:00 — Lost Apples of the Quabbin - Matt Kaminsky (as co-explorer with Al Sax) presents a slide show and talk about his ongoing living heritage orchard exploration and its unearthed apple mysteries of the Quabbin Region.
- Friday night Cider Pub Sing, 7:30 - 9:00 (BYOC), and Dance Cafe with live French acoustic dance music and instruction, 9:00 - 11:00, at the Parish Hall of the Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew, Greenfield FREE but donations appreciated
Just Added - Cider & Perry Traditions in Lower Austria. Johannes Scheiblauer, head of the Mostbarons, a group of cider and perry producers in the Mostviertel region of southwest Austria, presents an overview of the Mostviertel, the cider and perry traditions of this scenic and historic orchard region, and the products made there. On Sunday from 10 - 11am at the Deerfield Community Center. FREE
- Just Added - Biodynamic Orcharding with Mike Biltonen of Know Your Roots, LLC — Biodynamic agriculture has been practiced around the world for nearly a century, but is only now beginning to gain traction in the orcharding world. Apart from the spiritual and cosmological aspects of biodynamic farming, there are practical things that any experienced or novice farmer can do to begin down a path of revitalizing spirit, land, and food. Mike will cover the basic pragmatic aspects of biodynamics, as well as some of its more esoteric parts, as they apply to orchards. Saturday, 10:15 - 11:15am, at the West County Cider Tasting Room, 208 Peckville Road, Shelburne. FREE
- Just Added - From Ashmead to Zabergau: Heirloom apple talk and tasting with Amy Traverso, Yankee Magazine editor and author of The Apple Lover's Cookbook on Saturday afternoon from 2:30 - 3:30pm at Clarkdale Fruit Farms. Apple butter will also be available for tasting. FREE
Artifact Hard Cider Tasting and Heirloom Apple Orchard Tour on Saturday afternoon from 12 – 2 pm. Take a tour of Tip Top Orchard, one of the most beautiful orchards in the state, to learn about their rare and unusual apple varieties. Sample Artifact ciders. FREE Note: This is the only time during CiderDays weekend that Tip Top Orchard will be open.
- 8 Blends, 3 Yeasts, 2 Scientists: Experimental Cider Making from the Finger Lakes, NY — Two Cornell Ph.D students, Adam Karl and Miles S. Sax, share their methods, musings and exploits as they apply aspects of the scientific method to amateur cider making. The pair of burgeoning scientists will report on a home experiment that utilized eight different juice blends that were fermented using three different yeasts, resulting in twenty-four unique ciders! The talk will also discuss the growing cider industry in the Finger Lakes and cider production research at Cornell University. A tasting will be included. Saturday from 9:15 - 10:15am at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center FREE (taste hard cider with the purchase of a $5 glass)
Perry, The Finest of Drinks, talk with Tom Oliver, Oliver's Cider & Perry, Herefordshire, UK, on Saturday from 10:30 - 11:30 at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center FREE
- Modern vs. Traditional Cider Making Methods with Quebecois author Claude Jolicoeur on Saturday from 12:00 - 1:00pm at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center FREE
Back to The Future: Making High Quality Ciders — Insights into how to make the highest quality ciders with fermentation expert Curt Sherrer of Millstone Cellars. Learn the parallels between age old cider and wine production in both the orchard that relies first and foremost on quality apples and the cellar by heeding the nuances of barreled and blended ciders. Saturday from 1:30 - 2:30 at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center FREE
- The State of Cider in the United States — Panel discussion with the US Association of Cider Makers, Saturday, from 10:30 - 11:30am at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center FREE
Apple-themed cooking demos with Sandy D'Amato, owner of Good Stock Farm and author of Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer, on Sunday from 10:00 - 11:00am, and Erika Connell Cooper of Butter & Birch on Sunday from 11:00am - 12:00pm (both at Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield) FREE
Top Working Old Orchards with Eliza Greenman on Saturday from 9:00 - 10:00am at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center FREE
- A History of Apples in America with John Bunker, Sunday from 12:00 - 1:00pm at Bear Swamp Orchard & Cider, Ashfield FREE
The ever-popular Making Barrel Cider with Steve Patt and Paul Correnty on Sunday from 12:30 - 1:30pm at Apex Orchards in Shelburne FREE
Tastings of hard and sweet ciders, mead, cyzer, pommeau, switchel, cider syrup, apples and pears at various locations in Franklin County throughout the weekend (check schedule for details) FREE
and so much more!