Apple Syrup Boiled on the Arch At Turkey Hill’s Apple Festival
Freshly-pressed cider and boiled cider syrup are cause for celebration at Turkey Hill Farm in Randolph Center, as it prepares for its second annual Community Apple Festival, this weekend, Oct. 9-10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The festival, which is open to the community and area visitors, is sponsored by four neighboring farms, Brookfield Bees, Spruce Lane Farm, Fat Toad Farm, and Turkey Hill Farm.
Visitors can watch apples being ground and pressed into cider and then see the fresh cider evaporated into syrup over a wood-fired arch in the sugarhouse. Other activities include demonstrations of cooking with boiled cider, such as making old German-style and boiled-cider doughnuts.
Cider, boiled cider syrup, lunch items, apple desserts and local farm products will be available for purchase at the event.
Brookfield residents Dan Childs, a beekeeper from Brookfield Bees, and John Lipkvich, a horticulturist from Spruce Lane Farm, started collecting abandoned wild apples to press into cider in 2007. With the help of neighbors, they made about 50 gallons of cider. Doubling their yield the following year, they also began boiling the cider down into a cider syrup.
"In 2009, we picked many more apples, and expected to press around 300 gallons of cider, as well as boil a lot more apple cider syrup," Childs said. "We also wanted to invite the public to take part in the fun. As a result, we moved our operation to Stuart and Margaret Osha's Turkey Hill Farm in Randolph Center.
"Stuart and Margaret spread the word among their raw milk and 'Moo-tique' customers, and about 100 people came to help us celebrate the 'king of fruit'.
"We do sugaring here at the farm," Childs continued, "so when the cider event moved to Turkey Hill, it only seemed natural to start doing boiled cider the way the old-timers did, by boiling it on the sugaring arch."
"This process creates a wonderful, flavored, apple syrup, great for use in cooking, salad dressings, and desserts," commented Stuart Osha of Turkey Hill Farm.
Traditional farm cook Margaret Osha will prepare Old-style German doughnuts, as well as boiled cider doughnuts, 10-11 a.m.
Festival-goers can watch as the doughnuts are shaped and deep-fried in lard rendered from pigs raised on the farm. She'll also demonstrate how to make salad dressings, marinades, and apple desserts with boiled apple cider, from 2-3 p.m.
There will be lots to eat for hungry visitors, featuring ingredients from Turkey Hill Farm and area farms, including hot chili, corn muffins, and apple crisp.
Attendees can also stock up on Fat Toad Farm's goat's milk cheese and caramel, Brookfield Bees' honey products and soaps, Spruce Lane Farm's handcrafted floral wreaths, Beidler Family Farm's wheat and spelt flour, and Neighborly Farm's organic cheddar.
"Join us in celebrating the bounty and beauty of the fall harvest season," Margaret Osha said. This will be an opportunity to experience the history of apple pressing and the nearly forgotten art of making boiled cider. The aromas and flavors of this time of the year are every bit as exciting to the senses as maple sugaring is to us in the spring."
The festival takes place rain or shine and there is no admission charge. For details and directions, visit www.turkeyhillfarmvt.org or call 728-7064.