CiderDays Volunteer Committee

2011 Local Hero Awardees

In colonial days, safe water was often hard to come by.  Cider, a fermented apple juice with alcohol content in the four to eight percent range, was the main beverage served at meals. During Prohibition cider making died off – surviving on a very small scale in a few regions of the country.

Western Massachusetts was one such region.  In 1972, two California winemakers, Judith and Terry Maloney, moved to Franklin County.  Impressed by the hard cider shared by neighbors, the Maloneys experimented with different apple varieties and cellaring techniques. In 1984, they launched their effort commercially, becoming the first U.S. winery to specialize in hard cider. Ten years later, the Maloneys planned a small event to celebrate the apple harvest. Franklin County’s CiderDays is now a two-day festival that draws thousands of enthusiastic participants from all over New England, as well as many other states, Europe, and Australia.

Organized by a devoted group of volunteers with the support of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, CiderDays activities take place in orchards from Colrain to Deerfield, New Salem to Charlemont. Workshops on cider apple selection and home-brewing compliment heritage apple tastings.  Participating orchards are open to visitors; at one, kids can learn how cider is made by operating a child-friendly cider mill.  Two ticketed events sell out: the “Cider Salon” offers an opportunity to taste several dozen ciders brought by brewers from all over the U.S. and Europe, and the “Harvest Supper” features seasonal cuisine, apples and cider.

Terry Maloney was missed at CiderDays’ in 2010; he died earlier that year. He leaves a rich legacy, though. Terry and Judith are widely credited with having taken cider from the cellar of history, helping to put it back on the table in this country.  CISA recognizes the CiderDays volunteer committee for connecting people to local farms while raising the profile of cider production in our region, and honors Terry and Judith Maloney’s pivotal role in reawakening interest in brewing and enjoying cider made from local apples.

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