Located at 286 Mendon Street, Blackstone, MA, the historic Daniels Farmstead is celebrating the arrival of fall in New England with an Apple Festival on Sunday, October 1, 2017, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Rain or Shine). Daniels Farmstead is known to have played a pivotal role in the growing of apples and the production of apple cider and vinegar at the largest surviving cider house in the Blackstone River Valley.
Joann Vieira, Director of Horticulture at Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston, MA, will present an interpretive talk on “The Historical Impact of the Apple on Life in New England” at 12:00 p.m. Joann has held the lead horticulture position at the garden since 1988, helping to shape the gardens, landscape, and plant selections through the major garden and building development.
Are you a baker who would want to show off your best apple pie recipe? All are invited to participate in the apple pie contest which will be judged at 1:00 p.m. There is a $10 entry fee for the contest. Forms are available online at www.danielsfarmstead.org. Judges for the contest will be local “celebrities”.
Browse the Farmer’s Market where there will be fresh produce and meat, apples from local orchards, apple related foodstuffs, and handmade craft items. Baked products will be available for sale at the food concession. Other activities will include apple dunking, an antique tools display, and music by the Blackstone Valley Music, led by Shanna Keegan. Tours of the cider house and the Daniels’ home will be available throughout the day.
Hiram T. Daniels was proprietor of the farm beginning in the late 1800’s. He constructed a cider mill for the apple orchard which he had on the property and which would become a mainstay crop for the farm for a period of time in the early 1900s. The cider mill was later improved with a second press for the thriving apple orchard and to accommodate vinegar and cider production for farmers as far away as Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Throughout the mid-twentieth century Hiram’s son, Adin Thayer Daniels, better known as "Charlie", raised peaches and hayed the fertile fields. He also worked the cider mill with two presses powered by a steam engine and a large outside cistern until 1950. Vinegar and cider were processed and sold at the farm until Charlie’s passing in 1993. Some years ago the steam engine, which powered the cider presses, was sold to Hopedale Mill, yet the cider mill retains its works representing an important building type and function.
The Daniels Farmstead Foundation, Inc. was founded in 2003 with an all-volunteer board of directors with the goal to protect and preserve this historically significant farm and buildings and its pristine farmlands; to restore the farm to its former splendor; and to operate a living museum where local historians, schools, and the general public can learn about the New England Farm life from the 18th through the 20th centuries. This remarkable endeavor is due to the efforts of Doris Daniels King and her family to preserve the farmstead’s history and legacy. The Foundation's focus is to provide a place for people to gather, celebrate, and learn the values of a working farm and its traditions.