At this year’s third annual Homesteading Festival, the Campus Sustainability Office sold fresh pressed apple cider! Students from the Intro to Environment and Society class volunteered to help wash, mash, and press apples as part of a Service Learning Project on Rural Sustainability. We sold over four hundred pint size ball jars of hot apple cider. A much appreciated treat on a cold day! We raised just under $400 for the Paul Smith’s VIC! Homesteading festival attendants learned how to make fresh cider as well as try their hand with the press.
While many people were able to witness how “old school” cider was made, many forget where the emergence took place. It turns out that cider has a regional tie as the first English settlers we’re the first to start making here in America. The English settlers brought the process over from the UK, after centuries of tradition. Scholars estimate that an 18th century colonial resident drank around 15 to 35 gallons of non-alcoholic cider a year.
The first cider they started making in the UK was a hard cider, as that is what they traditionally drank but it soon became a non-alcoholic beverage as barley was very hard to grow here on the East Coast. But as we continued to expand west barley became more readily available. Cider is the fastest growing beverage as many more Americans are searching for a gluten free beverage. So next time you enjoy a glass or mason jar full of cider, know that it has tradition as old as apple pie.
The Campus Sustainability Office would like to thank Florence Apples of Peru, NY for the donation of the apples and a very special thank you to Brett McLeod and The Hospitality Program for lending us their cider presses for the event. We look forward to helping out again next year!
-Tyler Fisk, Campus Sustainability Office, Communications and Program Assistant