Apples are New York State’s signature fruit! And Western New York’s orchards produce some of the finest apples, apple cider, apple donuts, apple pies, apple butters, apple jellies and cider slushies in the entire state. Hop in the car to these four Niagara County cider mills and take a sip (and maybe a bite) of fall.
Smith’s Orchard Cider Mill
4960 Mapleton Road, Lockport / smithsorchard.com
Their 100-year old apple press goes into overdrive every September to produce some of the tastiest cider in Western New York. Smooth, crisp and just enough tart to make your lips pucker with delight. But you probably picked up that gallon to-go. If you need your cider fix asap, order a cider slushie and a warm, cider donut and enjoy on the spot at one of their covered picnic tables. Rows of apple trees, and apple pickers, make the perfect backdrop for celebrating fall in WNY. Located in the heart of Niagara County’s apple country in Pendleton, the Mill is open Friday-Sunday.
Cherry Bank Farm Cider Mill
5140 Town Line Road, Sanborn / Facebook
You’ll be hard-pressed to choose between the mouth-watering, homemade baked goods or the delicious, almost-addictive apple cider as your favorite fall treat at Cherry Bank Farm. One sip of their cider and you could honestly believe you just took a bite of an apple straight from the tree. The taste is unadulterated. Current owners, Fran and Barney Kelsch have run their seasonal business since 1971 and for their loyal patrons, their goodies make autumn worth the wait.
Blackman Homestead Farms
4472 Thrall Road, Lockport / blackmanhomesteadfarm,com
Online reservations required for Saturday and Sunday visits.
Nestled on the picturesque Niagara Escarpment, six generations of the Blackman Family have owned and operated their 165-year-old farm. Heirloom apple trees continue to produce the fruit sold at the farm today. For almost 50 years they’ve invited Western New Yorkers to enjoy the fruits of their labor by picking an apple from the tree, enjoying a gallon of their cider or other specialty products like juices, fruit butters and hard ciders.
852 Lockport Road, Youngstown / sangerfarmsandbakery.com
Look for the big, red barn along Lockport Street in Youngstown. The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg will draw you in and you’ll be greeted by tables of breads, pies and cookies which perfectly complements the sweet aroma of apples. Pick up a bushel basket to go pick your own or opt for a gallon of their delicious cider instead. Or better yet, why not both? If you’re looking to linger a bit longer, order a sandwich and local beer from the Back Barn Café!