We are deep into apple season and, as I've mentioned before, I am a cider guy -- an unpasteurized cider guy, to be specific. Each autumn I drive out to orchards that sell the delectable unprocessed libation, and yesterday I went to one of the best cider towns in the state: Stow.
I'd been out there Columbus Day weekend and picked up a couple gallons of cider at Honeypot Hill, which was packed with visitors looking at farm animals, navigating a maze, sampling cider donuts and purchasing farm products. Their cider is good -- I'd had some of it for the past few years -- and if I remember they're charging $5.50 a gallon.
In mid-October I went up to Russell Orchards in Ipswich, which is a nice place, but the cider -- at $6.25 a jug -- was just mediocre (unlike last year). They do sell a nice assortment of fruit wines, and on fall weekends Russell often has a bluegrass band playing and a fireplace going.
Yesterday I hit up a pair of places across the street from each other on Great Road (Route 117) in Stow. Derby Orchards, which I often frequent because their farm store is usually open late in the season, was selling cider for $4.25 a gallon! (Only Market Basket, at $4, sells cider less expensively, but it's pasteurized, which changes the flavor.) It's good stuff, but even better is One Stack Farm.
I'd never been to One Stack before, and it's almost hidden at the corner of Great Road and Packard Road. I purchased the cider for $5 a gallon from an older gentleman inside an open garage. The beverage is sweet and smooth. I've often found that the smaller the operation -- at Phil's Apples off I-495 in Harvard you'll find Phil pressing the apples in front of you -- the better the cider.