SOUTHINGTON – Long View Ciderhouse at Rogers Orchards opened its doors last week offering locally made hard cider — part of a series of expansions for the farm.
Jeff Rogers, a member of the eight-generation farm family, said there are four varieties of cider for sale with two more in the works. The cider has proved popular so far and the ciderhouse was busy over the weekend.
“We had really good sales and if anything it’s taught me I need to go make some more bottles,” Rogers said.
The cider house is attached to the Shuttle Meadow farm store. Cider is only sold at that location and not the Sunnymount location on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike.Plans for expansion
The Rogers family is working to prepare a hilltop area for visitors and to finish a tap truck that will provide cider for those enjoying the views.
The Long Bottom Road property, which had been used by the Rogers family for picnics with extended family and fundraisers, is known for its views of the surrounding hills and family orchards. Hartford’s skyline is visible to the north, Rogers said, while Sleeping Giant is visible to the south.
“You really get a view of Connecticut,” he said.
The family has plans for a deck and on Tuesday crews were connecting power to the location. Rogers hopes the truck will be ready in July.
The family originally had plans to build a cidery on the hill but unexpectedly high costs postponed those plans.Southington attractions
Lou Perillo, Southington’s economic development coordinator, has been working to draw breweries and distilleries to town. His vision is to turn Southington into a recreation destination, building on the presence of Mt. Southington ski area and Lake Compounce amusement park.
“We think it’s a great addition to town,” Perillo said of the cider house. “It goes very well with the breweries and hopefully the distillery that’s coming.”
“Because they have so much promise and so much land, I think there’s opportunity for that venue to expand into another amenity.” Perillo said. “Hopefully they do very well.”Cider varieties
The four varieties of cider on sale are pear, cherry, blueberry and Roxbury Russet apple.
“It’s one of the oldest cultivars in the U.S. We’ve grown it on the farm for centuries,” Rogers said of the Roxbury Russet. “It’s one of the few apples that we grow for eating that works as well for a hard cider.”
He’s working on two more varieties, a pear apple cider aged in oak and a cider with Schisandra berry, used in tea in Korea.
Right now there’s about 2,500 gallons of cider at the farm aging. The exact amount of time each cider needs varies.
“You read the cider depending on what you’re looking for,” Rogers said. “We age our ciders for upwards of eight months.”