New Salem Preserves & Orchards, long known for rich, sweet cider made from century-old heirloom apple trees, is pleased to announce the debut of their own small-batch hard cider. From now through December 1, 2019, cider can be exclusively purchased by the growler or enjoyed by the glass on premise — a 1750 farmstead overlooking orchards, stonewalls and the Quabbin Reservoir, in their newly opened Cider Garden.
Under the direction of owner Carol Hillman, who emphasizes sustainable and traditional methods in the cultivation of her apples, New Salem Preserves & Orchards has made traditional sweet cider for more than 30 years. Sourced from just 150 trees with an average age of more than 125 years, apples are hand-picked at peak ripeness and sorted at press time, producing what locals and cider cognoscenti consider to be perhaps the best sweet cider in the state. Hobbyists have long coveted New Salem’s sweet cider after discovering wild native yeasts unique to the orchard made outstanding hard cider. In 2018, the Hillman family decided to make their own in partnership with William Grote, an award winning cider maker from Boston. Grote’s ciders have won more than 30 medals at international cider competition GLINTCAP and taken top honors for the past three years at Franklin County Cider Days.
Hillman, Grote and farm operations head Terry McCue have over the last year transformed an historical barn & cider mill into a small cidery with a capacity of just 1,000 gallons per year. New Salem ciders are vintage, made from apples harvested in the late fall, fermented naturally and slowly with wild yeasts over the course of winter, aged in our temperature controlled cider mill throughout spring and summer for flavor development, until they are finally blended — almost a year later — for complexity and balance. This slow, cool aging process ensures a brilliantly clear cider without the need for filtration that is also naturally carbonated. The resulting ciders are similar to a dry sparkling wine, with close to zero residual sugar and are completely gluten free.
Hillman, now 92, oversees the day to day operation of the farm and still manages to make her famous sun-cooked raspberry and strawberry preserves, apple butter and applesauce, all sold out of her historic barn. Terry McCue, New Salem’s farm manager, tends the orchards and tries to keep the bears and porcupines from getting all the apples.
“I knew right away that New Salem was special, you can actually taste the essence of this place, it’s terroir is unmistakable” Grote said. “It doesn’t get better than this for making and enjoying hard cider.”
“My farm and orchards are the love of my life, and nothing makes me happier than sharing them with others,” added Hillman. “What could be better than good company, a glass of cider, and a view of the Quabbin?”
CONTENT FROM ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE