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Beardsley's Cider Mill & Orchard

278 Leavenworth Rd., Shelton, CT - (203) 926-1098
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/14/2011 12:24:00 PM
Beardsley's Cider Mill opens for business mid-September, and remains open until just before Christmas. It's a short season, but this farm in the White Hills of Shelton, Connecticut, is an apple-pie landmark.

The minute you walk in the door, the aroma of baking pies is overwhelming. Ovens are located just to the right behind the register; and from them come some of the best apple pies we've ever eaten. Using only Northern Spies, the Beardsley family bakes traditional double-crusters and crumb-tops, plus apple-cranberry, peach, pumpkin, pecan, fruit 'n' berry and no-sugar apple. For us, it's apple pie for sure; but still, it is a tough decision choosing between the crumb-top with its thick, sugary crunch and the two-crust pie with its surfeit of savory pastry, top and bottom.

If you are an apple aficionado, this is a place you need to know about. First there is the cider pressed on premises in the attached mill room. We spoke with one member of the family who described herself as "an unimportant Beardsley" (not likely; she was the one tending the pies in the oven!); she described the difference between Beardsley cider and supermarket stuff as "the difference between sunlight and a light bulb."

Then there are the apples themselves. Macouns, Red Delicious, and McIntosh grow in abundance. The farm also is home to trees that produce what the Beardsleys call "ugly apples" that happen to be rare and unique: Kingston Black, Tremlett's Bitter, Brown Snout, Spitzenberg, etc. The latter are not always available; but it's wonderful to know that this family cares enough to keep the heirlooms thriving.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

This is a close view of Beardsley's crumb-top apple pie. It was still hot from the oven when we sliced into it: pie paradise!
"This is a close view of Beardsley's crumb-top apple pie. It was still hot from the oven when we sliced into it: pie paradise!"
Michael Stern





Apple-cranberry pie is a double-cruster.
"Apple-cranberry pie is a double-cruster."
Michael Stern


These are apples being washed on the belt that takes them into the cider press. The apple smell in this room is nearly as intoxicating as that of baking pies next door.
"These are apples being washed on the belt that takes them into the cider press. The apple smell in this room is nearly as intoxicating as that of baking pies next door."
Michael Stern


Some of the Beardsley family's apple trees go back to the 1920s. There are thirty different varieties, including all the familiar supermarket kinds.
"Some of the Beardsley family's apple trees go back to the 1920s. There are thirty different varieties, including all the familiar supermarket kinds."
Michael Stern


Open only the autumn, this is one of Connecticut's prize farm stands. It's great fun to stand at the window outside and watch the cider press work.
"Open only the autumn, this is one of Connecticut's prize farm stands. It's great fun to stand at the window outside and watch the cider press work."
Michael Stern


Where the pies are made. The aroma emanating from this oven is dizzying.
"Where the pies are made. The aroma emanating from this oven is dizzying."
Michael Stern


November 27, 2002: the first snow of the year in New England
"November 27, 2002: the first snow of the year in New England"
Michael Stern


Cider donuts are substantial enough for serious dunking.
"Cider donuts are substantial enough for serious dunking."
Michael Stern



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