Connecting the past to the present

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Apple Orchard has captivated the hearts of many over the years by capturing the joy of fall in all of its attractions.

Kelsey Vala Donovan and her husband David were intrigued by the possibility of making hard apple cider. They had access to the orchard’s extra apples and could grow other cider-specific apples. The couple spent endless hours researching and getting formal training to prepare for their first cider release in the fall of 2020.

Vala’s Orchard Cider Co. was created and is unique because the apples are grown, pressed, and fermented on location. The cider is only available during September and October, making it even more special to enjoy.

Kelsey Donovan’s culinary background plays an enormous role in the profiles of the ciders that range from sweet to dry. Below are a few examples of the 20 to 25 different flavors that will be available this fall, including a sweet (nonalcoholic) cider.

Goldrush Dry stands up to its name. At first, there is a slight bit of sweetness. The finish is nice and dry, creating a well-balanced cider.

Tractor Jam is a sweet, blush cider with strawberry notes.

Witches Brew is a fruited cider containing blackcurrants. Blackcurrant is a bitter little berry that provides beautiful color and balance to the sweetness of the apples.

This fall, guests will be able to enjoy the cider in the new Cider Mill. The Cider Mill is a taproom that captures agricultural work in a new, fun way. The atmosphere is historical and nostalgic, including a cider press from the 1880s.

Kelsey Donovan said, “I wanted to highlight the historical significance of cider and apples in America. Cider used to be the drink of America, with heirloom and cider apple trees planted all around the country. Prohibition severely impacted cider production, but the culture of families and neighbors pressing cider from their fall harvest remained. Everyone enjoyed the tradition of drinking some of the previous year’s hard cider during harvest. So with the Cider Mill, I wanted to embody that spirit, connecting past to present.”

Visit Vala’s to enjoy a glass of cider or take a bottle home.


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