Franklin County Cider Days, November 1-3, 2019Cider tasting dinner under a tent

Canceled - Old Apples of New England

April 18, 2020

Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
10 Memorial Street, Deerfield, MA

NOTE: Due to health emergency caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus), we regret that we must cancel this event. Those who have purchased tickets online are being notified. 

This day-long event explores the role of apples in the New England as part of the 25th Anniversary of Franklin County Cider Days. We will feature thought-leaders on the historic, social and economic role of apples and look to the future of maintenance of historic apple varieties and their genetic resources. We welcome apple enthusiasts of all stripes to this historic gathering.

We are excited to welcome four speakers who will address the role of:

  • Pippins in New England
  • Cider and Cider Brandy in Colonial New England
  • The Rise of Nurseries
  • Preserving our Apple Heritage for the Future

If you are interested in American history, historic food ways, apple explorers and cider enthusiasts, this seminar is for you!

Tickets will be on sale on Saturday, February 22nd.


8:00 - Registration and coffee schmooze
9:00 - Welcome
9:15 - “Pippins in New England, Our Early Apples," with Christie Higginbottom
10:30 - Break
11:00 - “Cider and Apple Brandy in Colonial New England”, with Tom Kelleher
12:00 - Lunch – catered on site
1:00 - “The Art of the Graft and the Rise of Nurseries," with Todd Little-Siebold
2:00 - Break
2:30 - “Where do we go from here? Saving our historic apples, and looking at what's next" with John Bunker and Matt Kaminsky
3:30 Break
3:45 Panel Discussion, led by Matt Kaminsky
5:00 Close


John Bunker is the dean of the apple sleuths. He founded Fedco Trees, a branch of Fedco Seeds.  John led the development and establishment of the Maine Heritage Orchard for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.  Along with many articles and papers, he has written two books, Not Far From the Tree (2007) and Apples and the Art of Detection (2019) which explore his passion for apples.

Christie Higginbottom is a horticulture and landscape historian. She has worked for over 30 years at Old Sturbridge Village. For much of that time she researched and coordinated the historic horticulture and landscape program. Christie lectures for museums, garden clubs and historical societies and teaches classes for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA Mass) and Tower Hill Botanic Gardens.

Tom Kelleher is currently Historian and Curator of Mechanical Arts at Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, where he has worn many hats both literally and figuratively for over 35 years.  Tom holds a Master's in history from the University of Connecticut. He helped to reconstruct the historic Lyford-Hutchins cider mill in 1985 at OSV and has been making cider there ever since.

Todd Little-Siebold, is a faculty member of The College of the Atlantic where he is a professor of history and Latin American studies. Todd has also used his skills to explore the history of apples, foodways and actively hunts for old apples in Maine with a special focus on the islands of Maine.

Matt Kaminsky is an apple hunter and forager who offers orchard consultation as well as pruning and grafting services. He is the author of The Wild Apple Forager’s Guide and can be contacted at  Matt established the 1st Official Wild & Seedling Pomological Exhibition at Franklin County CiderDays 2019 with over 200 different fruits displayed.


The seminar will be followed by a catered dinner at the Montague Common Hall (aka the Old Grange), located at 34 Main Street, Montague, MA, starting at 6:30 pm. Note: There are separate tickets for this part of the event.

Want More Apple History?

Start on Friday, April 17th with an exciting Hands-on Open Hearth Cooking Workshop using Apples! Have you ever wanted to know how people cooked and fed themselves in Colonial New England and how they incorporated apples into their meals?  You can learn from expert cooks who know their way around a hearth.

Two small group sessions will be held on Friday April 17th where you will try your hand at making and tasting a simple apple-related 18th century recipe:

  • Session I — 2:30 – 4:30 PM
  • Session II — 5:30-7:30 PM 

These sessions are limited to fifteen people. Tickets $15.00.

Interested? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your place at the table


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©2019 Franklin County Cider Days • Franklin County Chamber of Commerce • Site Design by Starstruck Design

Some photographs on this site were taken by Bill Bradshaw,, and Beth Reynolds, Base Camp Photo

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