Oct 18

In the Name of Progress

The Avon Cider Mill is as much at the root of my passion for clean food as my mother’s Goodness Soup and my Easy Bake Oven. From my earliest memory, fall has been synonymous with Sunday family drives over the mountain to the mill for the best apples, cider and pumpkins around. Even after I had long left home, I required a shipment from the mill once a year so that I could revisit those tastes and memories.

Dad and my brothers at the Mill. I don't think I had been born yet at the time when this picture was taken.

As soon as I moved back to this area I started bringing my young family to the mill. The apple cider fritters captivated them from day one (hardly a surprise), and each year at the end of August my girls would start asking “When will it be time to visit the mill again?” I admit, the bleachers of pumpkins hardly seem like the sky-high jungle gym we climbed on as children. But between the piles of pumpkins, the baskets of apples and the little red wagons that were here when I was a child, there is still magic at the Avon Cider Mill. This special place is much more than our family tradition, it is part of the history of our town and the entire surrounding area.

Me on the bleachers that hold the pumpkins. Hardly "sky-high." How time changes our perspective.

Same bleachers, but this time my brother amongst the piles of pumpkins.

Unfortunately, Avon Cider Mill’s days are numbered. In the name of progress, the mill will be closing at the end of the season to make way for a new magnet school being built on the same grounds. When the mill goes, so goes a piece of my heart. The gentleman who sold me my cider just the other day was working behind the same counter when he (and I) was 10. Is there anyplace that you shop where you have such a connection these days?

The big red barn that has been the main building of this family business since 1918.

As you drive through town, it’s hard to miss the many empty storefronts, malls where once were dense forests, and even a new CVS going up just 1/2 mile from another CVS (and Walgreens) and in a spot where just weeks ago stood a tree-lined field. I can’t help but wonder, when are we going to stop?

When will our communities be defined not by where we shop, but by where we connect with our neighbors?

When will we support our local farms and farmers, instead of continuing to buy produce shipped from around the world?

What is it going to take to develop our communities to support healthy families instead of profits and taxes…to put down our cell phones and make our roads safe for drivers, bikers, runners and walkers alike…and to say no to progress that destroys our environment, demolishes our history, and takes with it those things that make our communities unique and special?

Apple Cider Fritters...yum!

One last apple fritter. Not exactly 'clean,' but worth every bite.

I am not against building a new magnet school that will educate our children and serve our community, but I am against doing it in a way that takes away a piece of history and a family’s livelihood for generations past and to come.

Clearing for the new school. The mill is the red building in the back.

I am grateful for being able to share this special place with my children, but sad that they will not have the same opportunity to share it with theirs. Avon Cider Mill, you will be missed.

10 Comments

  1. Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Terry, my family and I feel the same way about the loss of the cider mill, the sprouting of mega-pharmacies (how is THAT a mirror of our culture?!), and our slash and burn approach to “progress.” Thanks for the post. It reminds me to take my 22-year-old daughter back for another fritter (we’ve already bought a bushel of saucing apples, so that counterbalances the 2 fritters we’ll buy, no?) before she moves to San Francisco at the end of the month. Appreciate the nudge and the permission!

  2. Posted October 22, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    This is very sad indeed. We see it all over the country (and around the world). Major corporations taking over the landscape and destroying family businesses and small communities in the name of profit and greed. Where will it stop? When people will be sufficiently fed up I think. Until then, we can only hope that more and more wake up. I heard you at Integrative nutrition’s mega conference today. I wanted to thank you for promoting healthy foods.

  3. Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Good point about the mega-pharmacies, Paula. You can never have enough pharmacies and banks! (not) I’ll see you at the mill. I’ll be the one inhaling all of the fritters. Look for Avon Cider Mill cider next year at The Picking Patch on Nod Road. They sold that piece of the business and will be helping them make that transition for the next two year.

  4. Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Hi Veronique. What an amazing conference it was and thanks for your kind words. As for progress, it sounds like we’re both sufficiently fed up! Here’s to creating that change. It’s going to take each and every one of us!

  5. Posted October 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Oh! That’s good to know, re the Pickin’ Patch. I also heard you at the IIN conference. Thanks for your work, Terry. Hope our paths cross in the field of Green and Clean.

  6. Wendy
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Great article but sad as well. I have experienced this firsthand. I grew up in the Canal Zone and my childhood hometown no longer exists. The houses were torn down to make way for a container terminal.

  7. Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Wendy, I’m speechless. Can’t even imagine!

  8. Posted October 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi Terry,
    It was a wonderful coincidence that I happened upon you at Whole Foods in West Hartford as I was passing through on my way to Salisbury. I’m home now after a wonderful weekend getaway and I just read this post with an aching sadness. Having grown up in West Hartford, I share these memories of the Avon Cider Mill.
    Had I known it would be gone, I would surely have detoured to make one final farewell visit. Thanks for sharing the memories.
    Marsha

  9. Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Marsha,

    Glad you had a wonderful weekend and thanks for saying hi and introducing yourself at Whole Foods. I guess I’ll just have to have another apple fritter…for you, of course!

    Terry

  10. Posted October 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Terry,
    Just checked out your book from the library(I do this when I can before I buy) because I’ve heard so much about it. I will be purchasing your new edition along with buying them as gifts for friends. Great info and it backs the feelings I have and what we all should have in regard to eating foods that are produced closer to home and how it’s so much fresher and supports the local farmers if it available. We are lucky to have a farmers market year round where we live along with a lot of other food items produced locally. It breaks my heart to hear stories such as the Avon Cider Mill closing. I hope one day this type of thing stops!

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