All of the big orange pumpkins and Macoun apples will be sold and the children’s red wagons will be packed away for good. When this autumn's harvest season ends, the Avon Cider Mill will close its doors for good.
The big red barn on Waterville Road (Route 10) in Avon has been a town landmark since 1918, when the family-run business was established. But perhaps all good things must come to an end. That means customers will no longer be able to enjoy the farm market’s homemade apple cider or famed apple fritters.
For many years, customers came from miles away for the 13 varieties of apples from the Hudson River Valley and homemade jams, jellies, preserves and hot sauces. The smell of fresh-made pies and cookies permeated the market. Honey sticks and fudge squares were also big sellers along with flowers such as mums in the fall and annuals in springtime. The store operated from mid-March through Christmas Eve.
There has been much speculation that the business is closing because the land it sits on and which surrounds the Cider Mill has just been sold. The owners of the Avon Cider Mill did not own the land where they operated their business. Recent stories on Avon Patch have reported that this spring, the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) bought 10.99 acres of land from landowner Dr. Roy Beebe, according to David Fresk, CREC project manager. The purchase price was nearly $2.7 million. CREC plans to build its new Reggio Magnet School of the Arts on the site, which could open as early as September 2013.
Repeated attempts for a comment from Jim Lattizori, co-owner of the Cider Mill, were unsuccessful. He declined to be interviewed for this article, saying he and his brother “just want to do our own thing and walk away.”
Lisa Bohman, executive director of the Avon Chamber of Commerce, who remembers going as a child to buy pumpkins at the Avon Cider Mill, commented, “It’s just a shame to lose such a long-historied business in Avon. Economically, it’s impactful not just for the owners but also for local vendors and customers. Anytime you lose a business, it’s impactful.”
Nora Howard, who is the official historian for the town of Avon, said she's always been a customer, and in fact, when her son was growing up, he insisted she only buy cider from the Avon Cider Mill, because it was the best.
"It was a fixture," she said. "I'm sad to see a local landmark pass."
The Avon Cider Mill, 57 Waterville Road in Avon is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (860) 677-0343 for more information.