Amish Acres featured in “American’s Best Cider Mills”
In a September feature article posted on ForbesTraveler.com titled “American’s Best Cider Mills,” Laura Kath compiled her list of the 10 best cider mills in America.
The Kuhns Cider & Grist Mill at Amish Acres in Nappanee, Indiana was joined by nine other unique apple cider mills from Vermont to Kansas to San Luis Obispo, California.
New England ‘s Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, Massachusetts, Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center Vermont, joined two mills from New Hampshire, the White Mountain Cider Company in Glen, and Mack's Apples on the New Hampshire Apple Way Scenic Byway in the White Mountains. Hacklebarney Farm Cider Mill, in Chester, N.J., Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Louisburg Cider Mill in a rural Kansas hay barn, Apple Farm Inn’s Millhouse Suites in San Luis Obispo, Calif. And The Apple Barn & Cider Mill; Sevierville, Tennessee complete the list.
Ms. Kath began her search at apple harvest time, tracking down the best fresh apple cider. “In most apple-growing regions of the world today, the term 'cider' means a beverage made from the juice of milled apples that has been fermented with yeast, like grape wines. Only in North America is fresh or sweet cider a popular drink,” according to pomologist Ian A. Merwin at Cornell University, “The best ciders are made from a blend of many varieties: some with lots of acidity, others high in sugar, and some that impart desirable flavors and aromatic qualities to the cider. Apples that are typically high in sugar, such as 'Golden Delicious', 'Fuji', 'Gala', 'Golden Russet', 'Gold Rush', 'Jonagold', 'Red Delicious', and many others are wonderful sweets.”
She added, “The entire family can fall into the flavor of sweet apple cider at hundreds of distinctive cider mills around the United States. In rural towns, among rolling hills and woodlands—from the Cascades in Washington State to Midwestern Michigan and merry New England, autumn is the perfect time to tantalize your taste buds while quenching your thirst with the golden nectar.”
Ms. Kath said of Amish Acres, “Each autumn for the past century or so, the old-fashioned cider mill on the 80-acre Amish farmstead belonging to the Kuhns family has cranked into action producing apple cider. Today, that mill is just one part of Amish Acres—an historic farm & heritage resort in Nappanee, Ind.—where not only can you enjoy fresh-made apple cider but also experience the simple lifestyle of the Amish people through guided tours, restaurants, crafts, demonstrations and musical theater.” Overnight lodging in two host hotels can extend your visit into the slower paced world of northern Indiana’s Amish country.
The Nappanee mill features a wooden “rack and cloth” press made in the 1880’s. Grandson Albert Kuhns remembered horse drawn wagon loads of apples from neighboring farms lined up along the adjacent country road at 5:00 a.m. awaiting the beginning of the day’s pressing each fall. The large press could produce 3,000 gallons of fresh cider a day when operating at full capacity.
Today it is part of historic Amish Acres and comes alive each fall during the Nappanee Apple Festival and the farm’s Fall Harvest Days that features farm wagon rides to the pumpkin patch where kids pick out their own for carving. A Scarecrow Reunion & Contest draws entries from schools, clubs, churches and other organizations that are placed throughout the farm.