Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo of The Middlebury Campus
Saturday, Dec 2, 2023

Ciderfest 2010 is a fall ball for all

On Oct. 2, people of all ages came out to enjoy a great fall tradition: Ciderfest 2010. Champlain Orchards, located in Shoreham, Vt., hosted the event. Tickets sold guaranteed attendees to unlimited food and cider, as well as a hay ride, admission to the orchard to pick your own apples and music provided by the local bluegrass band Run Mountain.

Numerous vendors also lined the edge of the main tent. Attendees chose from delicious baked goods including homemade apple pie and apple crisp. Local cheese producers, including Shelburne Farms, Vermont Butter and Cheese Company and Crowly Cheese, provided limitless samples of their finest cheeses.

Zoe Parker ’13 was not disappointed by the selection.

“At Champlain Orchards, I found God in the form of goat cheese,” she said.

Tickets also included a hamburger dinner provided by the Farmhouse Tap and Grill of Burlington. The burgers, topped with local Vermont cheese, were so good that some attendees temporarily gave up their vegetarianism for the occasion.

However, consistent with the name of the event, Ciderfest’s main attraction is the cider itself. Honeycrisp sweet (nonalcoholic) cider was available, as was hard cider, which seemed to please all who tried it. The many hard cider vendors, including Woodchuck Hard Cider, Farnum Hill and Flag Hill Farm, were quick to give out samples and information about the cider-making process.

“There was a great variety of ciders,” said Gregg Miller ’11. “I was amazed at the different flavors and characteristics of a beverage I formerly always associated with apple juice.”

In addition to sampling a wide variety of food and drink, many attendees enjoyed hayrides led by farm owner and orchardist Bill Suhr. Suhr made his passion for apples clear as he showed riders the orchard’s 25 different varieties of apples. Suhr also added some of his quirky perspectives to the ride, calling one variety, known as Sweet Tangos, “sexy,” while referring to others, such as Northern Spies, as more old-fashioned.  In addition, Suhr also explained various farming techniques, and showed off the orchard’s own weather station.

Enticed be Suhr’s descriptions, many riders went on to pick their own apples, as all who bought tickets received their own bag to fill as they strolled through the rows of apple trees. There were so many varieties, in fact, that some became flustered.

“Apple picking never seemed so stressful,” said Addie Cunniff ’13.

The stress didn’t last long, however, as Saturday’s beautiful fall weather, combined with Champlain Orchard’s stellar location and views, provided a wonderful atmosphere for Ciderfest. The orchard has been family owned and operated for more than 100 years. In addition to offering apple picking, Champlain Orchards also makes its own cider and pies, which are available at the farm store. Visitors can arrange for private farm tours to learn more about the cider-making process as well. The farm can even custom-make cider with specific apples of the customer’s choice.

Champlain Orchards is hosting yet another event, their twelfth annual Harvest Festival, on Sunday, Oct. 10. The festival will feature more good food and tunes, including bluegrass music, homemade barbeque, pies, cider and much more.