Belmont Cider Days
Watch fresh cider being made on a century-old press and enjoy a cup with homemade apple pie or crisp and ice cream at Belmont Cider Days on Saturday, October 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, October 8, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Other activities include food and crafts vendors, a library book sale, an antique chair auction, a special wishing well and more. Admission is free. To get there, turn toward Belmont at the flashing light on Route 103 or turn at the Belmont sign from Route 155. Head up the hill, find a place to park and stroll through Belmont Village to the Green.
Sponsored by the Mount Holly Community Association, Cider Days has grown in popularity while building on an old tradition, when locals brought their apples to the Village Green to be pressed on a hand-cranked press. It’s still a hands-on process, but the press used today has an engine – and the apples are provided from Brown’s Orchard in Poultney.
“Visitors will see cider made end to end,” says Penny Coldwell, who has worked the press since the early days. “Workers climb up to the top of the press and dump apples into the hopper, which is now stainless steel. Apples are mashed into a pulp and a worker down below opens a small door and mash falls down onto hemp cloth. It is smoothed out and then cloth is folded over the mash. The mash then is put into flats made by a local furniture maker and stacked up under the press. When there are enough, the hopper is shut off and the hydraulic press is started. The press comes down slowly – up to 1,200 pounds pressure – and the cider comes out a drain and into a five-gallon bucket with a cheesecloth strainer. From the bucket, it goes into gallon jugs, ready for drinking.”
Cider Days on Saturday is followed by a Roast Beef Dinner, with seatings at 5 and 6 p.m. The cost for that is $12 for adults, $5 for children.