All counted, 100 different kinds of apples grow at Averill Farm in Washington Depot, CT. Familiar fall favorites—think Macintosh and Red Delicious—are planted along with heirlooms, newer disease-resistant varieties, and cider-specific cultivars, with lesser known names like Baldwin, Liberty, and Crimson Crisp. You’ll find many of these unusual varieties at New Morning Market as the season progresses.
Now managed by 10th generation farmer Tyson Averill, alongside his parents Susan and Sam, Averill Farm is among the oldest continuously operated farms in the country. The gently sloping hills that give rise to apples, pears, and Christmas trees were purchased in 1746 from Chief Waramaug of the Wyantenock tribe. Once a longstanding dairy farm, Tyson’s grandfather paved the way for a fruit-laden future when he planted a small pick-your-own orchard that was decades ahead of its time. His son Sam, a ninth generation Averill, adopted organic and IPM (integrated pest management) methods and expanded the orchard year after year to today’s 30 acres—or enough trees to fill 4,000 bushels of apples in a good year.
During harvest season, from mid-August until Thanksgiving, the Averill Farm store boasts neat rows of wooden apple crates, brimming with different varieties for mix n’ match peck-sized bags. Shelves and coolers are stocked with other mainstays of autumn: maple syrup, honey, Vermont cheddar cheese, apple pie, and old-fashioned jams and jellies made by slowly simmering berries grown on-site. The scent of cinnamon, sugar, and warm apples wafts through the air from the adjacent commercial kitchen—here they bake thousands of cider donuts each week, after first pressing the cider, of course. Surplus apples, plus those too ugly to eat, are pounded into pulp, their sweet juices extracted for the season to be savored as cider (both hard and sweet). Every year, Averill Farm invites you to celebrate fall with them—taking part in their generations-long traditions.