Wherever early American settlers went, they relied on apples, and apple ciders and vinegars, for a variety of food, drink, preserving, and medicinal purposes.
In the early 1800’s, John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, pioneered ahead of the settlers starting many nurseries throughout the Midwest by planting seeds which he bought from cider mills in Pennsylvania. He knew that, in order to assure stability of the newly established homesteads, the law required each settler to plant fifty apple trees the first year. Nearly every farm would have an apple orchard and a cider press.
Indeed, it became the tradition to pay part of a farm laborer's wages in cider. A typical allowance would be 3-4 pints per day, increased to 6-8 pints during summer harvesting! Ultimately, the ease of making commercial beers and sodas took over in the United States, but in recent years the refreshing taste and health benefits of apple cider have brought about a fourfold increase in cider consumption.
Over the years, The Cider Mill in Endicott has carried on the traditions of cider-making from the best of New York State apples. Today, village orchards are gone and the original Cider Mill was lost to fire in 1972. Happily, the Ciotoli family decided to rebuild. Now you can watch Cider Mill cider being pressed and you can see what’s coming fresh from the Cider Mill kitchen, too!
The Cider Mill Playhouse was founded in 1976 by John Bielenberg. It was originally organized as an adjunct of the Binghamton University theater program. The theater continues today under Dr. Bielenberg’s protégé Craig Saeger. Dr. Bielenberg’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol will be presented this December as it has been for nearly 40 years.
The Cider Mill Farmstand offers an unbeatable choice of premium New York State apples. There is a superb selection of fresh fall mums in the newest colors as well as the traditional favorites. Decorator and Halloween carving pumpkins, Indian corn, gourds, straw, corn stalks, and other fall delights.