oldest steam-powered cider mill

After our walk and leaf peeping last Friday we stopped at one of Tim’s (and son Nate’s!) favorite places for some freshly pressed apple cider. I can’t believe I’ve never created a post about this local treasure. Maybe because it’s so popular and crowded on the weekends but now that we’re retired we have the luxury of visiting during the week when there are fewer people around and a better chance to get unobstructed photos.

11.5.21 ~ Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark
(American Society of Mechanical Engineers)

Family-owned and operated since 1881, B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill is a piece of living history. Every September 1st, we open our doors and sell sweet cider, hard cider, wine, cider donuts, and many local goods. We craft our sweet cider and hard ciders the same way that generations before us perfected. Enjoy cider-making demonstrations, wine and hard cider tastings, and our renowned cider donuts while making your own new traditions
~ B. F. Clyde’s Cider Mill website

side view

Although cider was produced on individual farms for private use, the centrally located mill became popular for farmers who would sell surplus apples to the mill and bring back the juice to ferment into hard cider. In 1881 Benjamin Clyde began pressing his apples at local mills and soon rented his own press. In 1897 he purchased the mill and installed the screw press (No. 2) from Boomer & Boschert of Syracuse. Boomer and Boschert also supplied the apple grater, apple elevator, and cider pump, as well as the plans for the building.
~ American Society of Mechanical Engineers website

temporary cider storage, then it gets pumped to the company store

Although cider making has changed little over the centuries, this mill featured a sophisticated method of grinding and a press capable of applying pressure at three speeds. Using all steel construction, it was considered the finest screw cider press ever made. The cider mill at B.F. Clyde’s also represents one of the final screw presses. In the 20th century, the hydraulic press came into widespread use.
~ American Society of Mechanical Engineers website

apple delivery
on the weekends you can get hard cider
in the cellar under the cider press
company store
company store greeter
gift shop
directing wine tasters to the gift shop

We went down another scenic road on our way home and enjoyed many more fall colors. We happened to notice a cemetery with open gates and drove in, finding some spectacular views of the Mystic River. We’ll have to go back some day to explore. But I was getting hungry and ready to go home. Before we left I spotted a squirrel eating on top of a headstone. A perfect ending to a great outing.

11.5.21 ~ Saint Patrick Cemetery

21 thoughts on “oldest steam-powered cider mill”

  1. You lucky persons you! great blog -in scandinavia we have a danish farmer named Frank, and he stars in 20 minutes programs on TV where he demonstrates his love for old machinery – and how you can make new parts and so on. He made his own apple grinder and has demonstrated it on TV – happysighs – and so I enjoy these machines tremendously, and they are well cared for and cleaned and loved – so i would have gone absolute bananas on that place, Barbara! thanks fort all the photos – they are so ALIVE 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Leelah, I’m so happy you enjoyed these photos! 🙂 Your TV star Frank sounds a lot like my late uncle, an engineer who enjoyed fixing old machinery (and many of my parents’ home maintenance problems) and would often make parts for things. Every time he visited my father would tell him what wasn’t working and then follow him around admiring his ideas and handiwork. 🙂 Years ago they let us go inside the cider mill and watch the press in operation but now you have to stand at the doors or windows to watch.

  2. What a local treasure! I love the photos of the machines that make the cider + that sign for hard cider is a hoot. Good of a squirrel to allow you to snap his pic thus giving you a perfect ending to your post.

    1. That sign for the hard cider was hilarious! You should see the line going down there on the weekends. They have 8 distinctly different flavors, which husband and son like to discuss the merits of. As for me, I loved a cup of (non-alcoholic) hot apple cider.

  3. What fun! I can see why this place is a family favorite. My uncle inherited the family farm in NC which included an apple orchard. He made cider in an old apple press. I loved it! Thanks again for evoking fall memories.

    1. So happy you enjoyed this, Anna! Your uncle’s apple cider home made with his own apples sounds delicious!!! Nothing like freshly pressed apple cider. We won’t even buy any in the grocery store. The place closes for the season after Thanksgiving so we get to have some with our holiday dinner. 🙂

    1. I just had to throw in the squirrel picture. 🙂 Somebody had a lot of fun creating those greeters with their helpful signs. It seems wise that they separated the wine tasting from the hard cider tasting areas. 🙃

  4. Hard cider this way, ha ha! What a fun post. We don’t have any apple cider mills around us, but there are many downstate. Our good friends make cider each year from their many farm apple trees and if we’re lucky they give us some! We still have about a half quart in the freezer to open one of these mornings.

    1. Oh wow — does cider freeze well? That opens a whole new world of possibilities for us! Lucky you to have friends who will share their orchard’s bounty with you. 🙂 It looks like we have a couple of cider mills far away on the other end of our state, too. Feeling more grateful now to have one so close by. Do you drink your cider hot or cold?

      1. Yes, cider does seem to freeze well. My brother freezes it in little 4 oz plastic cups and my mom drinks it in her assisted living. We drink ours cold. Lately we haven’t been drinking as much juice, preferring to eat our apples and get more fiber.

        1. Thanks for letting me know, Kathy. I’m going to suggest we freeze some to Tim, although I wonder if drinking cider at other times of year would feel a bit unnatural. 😉

  5. This was a cute post Barbara and sounds like a fun place to visit – the various scarecrows and “people” around the cider mill were so clever. I like how they advertised the hard cider. I’ve been to a cider mill, but it’s been years and that was just inside the gift shop area at Apple Charlies where you buy cider and donuts and you can go pick your own apples. Nothing nice like this. It was interesting to see the machines used to press the apples and the process, like the temporary holding tank. It was great no one was around so you could get all the unobstructed pictures. And, of course I loved the squirrel posing while dining on the memorial at the cemetery.

    1. Thank you, Linda! Nothing says autumn quite so well as apples, scarecrows and squirrels. 😉 I didn’t go inside the gift shop this year because I’m still wary of indoor spaces and also because I knew I would get caught up buying all kinds of Christmas decorations I definitely don’t need! But we did go into the general store to get our cider, with masks. They had taken out a lot of the shelves and created a one-way path through the store, so if you changed your mind about buying something you couldn’t go backwards. We often stock up on local honey and maple syrup, and Tim likes to get a baked good, too.

      1. Yes – you nailed it with this post Barbara. I hate to see the Fall go so quickly … a few days of gusty winds and most of the leaves are down. But they are not pretty leaves, many green, or slightly yellow, very few brilliant reds or orange this year. Well that’s good you got inside and got some goodies. Some of our cider mills opened before Labor Day. They were pressing Honey Crisp apples but there was a shortage this year they said. At least there was no crowd when you went, a definite advantage of being retired and going midweek.

        1. Tim’s been buying a lot of Honey Crisp apples this year — some of them are huge! I found a recipe for apple crisp made with cassava flour we’re thinking of trying. (I’m gluten intolerant.) But I’m not sure yet if my gut can handle cooked apples. It can’t handle them uncooked! We had a violent storm on Saturday so I’m anxious to get outside today and see what’s left of the leaves… There was a tornado in the town to the east of us. Sorry you didn’t get enough reds and oranges, we didn’t either. Sigh…

          1. I hope we have better luck next year on the colors Barbara – they had predicted the colors would not be as showy this year due to the heat. I heard about the tornado and saw some of the damage on Long Island – scary. And this morning an earthquake in California … that didn’t get much attention today. The big produce market where I took all the photos of the mums awhile back sells Honeycrisp apple cider. Hope there are still some leaves left to enjoy seeing and photographing.

          2. I didn’t hear about the earthquake in California. I think I’m simply going to have to start embracing the yellows and golds for fall colors. Sigh…

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.