‘My granddad had a barrel in the barn full of hard cider. … ’
According to Shannon and Sarah Showalter, owners of Showalter’s Orchard and Greenhouse, this is a common phrase heard from orchard visitors.
The Old Hill Cidery, a recent orchard addition, has sparked cider-related memories and stories for locals and passersby alike. In an effort to hold onto these stories, the Showalters created “Stories Betwix the Music,” which will be held at the orchard Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.
“We knew that cider had lots of history … but what happened this fall is that people, especially locals, were either of the age themselves or from families who grew up in the Valley, saw the Old Hill Cidery sign and they would tell stories about cider.
“Some of them were funny and some of them were just memoirs, and we thought ‘Someone needs to capture this,’ ” Sarah said.
“Betwix,” the occasion’s namesake, will be the featured beverage.
The Showalters describe it as a “full fresh apple on the palate with a hint of ale on the nose. Somewhere between the familiarity of beer and wine.”
The event will “involve a casual gathering around a potbelly stove with homemade soup and local musicians playing some traditional Shenandoah Valley music,” says Sarah.
“[Apple cider] was a staple of daily life,” says Tammy Ennis, orchard employee.
The Showalters have been pressing cider since 1971, sharing it with family and friends.
“[Shannon] is the scientist, the artist — he is the cider-maker,” says Sarah of her husband.
Ennis says the event will “educate people on the local history of cider,” as well as inform people about the importance that that cider has in history.
“A lot of people don’t know that Johnny Appleseed planted those seeds to make apple cider trees,” claims Sarah.
The Showalters plan to continue Stories “Betwix the Music” and to make it an annual event.
They plan to document the event with video, making it available to others online, so the Shenandoah Valley ‘cider lore’ can be shared and remembered.
Old Hill Cidery offers three different blends of cider: Betwix, Cidermaker’s Barrel, Yesteryear.
For more information on the event, visit oldhillcider.com, call (540) 896-7582 or visit the orchard at 17768 Honeyville Road, Timberville.
Contact Aimee George at (540) 574-6292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.