LEOMINSTER – “A Day of Apples and Art” will officially showcase the New England apple harvest in 2021, with a one-day celebration at this premier “traveling museum” to be held from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday 4 September at Sholan Farms, 1125 Pleasant Street
The event is part of a feasibility study for a New England Apple Association-sponsored New England Apple and Cider Museum that would promote locally grown apples and cider year-round and feature apples and orchards grown in New England and their rich history. .
The day will feature plenty of fresh cider and early season apples, presentations on cider and early varieties, a demonstration with an antique cider press, outdoor artists painting throughout the orchard, a hands-on painting workshop for the kids, live music and food.
âI am delighted that Sholan Farms has been chosen to host this inaugural event,â said Joanne DiNardo, Chair of the Board of Directors of Sholan Farms. “This is the popular orchard located in the heart of Massachusetts and we can’t wait to show off our unique place in apple history.”
DiNardo is proud of the history of Sholan Farms, for many reasons, but having some of the oldest apple trees in full size is something she loves to talk about.
âThe oldest apple trees at Sholan Farms – the standard Macoun – were planted over 100 years ago,â DiNardo said. âI am delighted that visitors learn about the history of our orchard and take advantage of many other activities planned at this event. “
New England Apple Association Executive Director Russell Powell is also excited about this inaugural event and will talk about apple varieties and answer questions related to apples.
âWe’re excited to pitch the idea for the museum at Sholan Farms,â said Powell, who is also the author of âAmerica’s Apple, Apples of New Englandâ. âThe proposed museum will be a way to mark New England’s unique place in apple history and continue to connect families to apple orchards and the burgeoning new cider industry in the region. It is normal that it is in Leominster, hometown of John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed).
Mark Richardson, Horticulturist at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, will talk about heirloom apples and the expanded Tower Hill Conservation Orchard, one of the largest of its kind in the country, with over 100 varieties of pre-1900 apples.
Chef Paul Correnty, author of “The Art of Cidermaking”, will give a lecture on the history of cider in New England, with artist Jan Ruby who will lead a painting workshop for children. A longtime artistic educator, she currently teaches at the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton.
Throughout the day, visitors will be able to meet and observe âoutdoorâ painters as they walk through the orchard.
Sholan Farms is a 167 acre farm with a rich history, owned by the Town of Leominster and operated by the Friends of Sholan Farms.
âThe Friends of Sholan Farms is a nonprofit organization supported by the community and managed by a group of dedicated members and volunteers,â said DiNardo. âThe heart of Sholan Farms is the dedicated volunteers. “
The Friends are looking for additional volunteers for this event to help with parking, information, cart drivers and narrators, DiNardo said.
“We are delighted that the Lucca food truck serves excellent American cuisine,” she added. âWe would always be happy to welcome other food trucks including an ice cream truck. We are also looking for acoustic music throughout the day, including jazz, soft rock, classical and symphonic music. We are looking for soloists and groups.
Boasting all the charm that New England has to offer, Sholan Farms is known for its scenic views for walking and bird watching, cross country skiing and hiking. During the picking season, visitors will find a simple farm stall stocked with honey, cider, fruit, jams and jellies, gift items, and apple chip mix.
The apple picking and harvesting season has started and will continue until October and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
âThe 2021 apple harvest is shaping up to be fantastic,â said DiNardo. âWe have 37 varieties of apples that ripen at different times throughout the fall. The first McIntosh and the first Cortlands will be available for pickup until early September. The farm stand will also be stocked with Ginger Gold, Zestar and Paula Red apples. Later in September we have the Honeycrisp and the Macouns as well as many other varieties.
DiNardo said the orchard still needs volunteers to help with the farm stand and harvest until the end of October.
The traveling museum will make stops in New England orchards over the next two years with unique events that celebrate the history and future of New England apples and cider. The proposed traveling museum is a project of the non-profit New England Apple Association. It will be the first of its kind in the country.
âWe are delighted to host this historic event and look forward to bringing people to our beautiful orchard to showcase the many varieties available this time of year,â said DiNardo.
Admission is free and open to the public. Updates will be posted on newenglandapples.org and you can visit www.sholanfarms.com or check their Facebook page. For more information, you can call 978-840-FARM.