Happy Valley Orchard
Located in: Middlebury, Vermont
Supplies Middlebury College with: fresh apples and cider
Apple trees at Happy Valley Orchard
Stan and Mary Pratt purchased the 16 acre Happy Valley Orchard about five years ago after having leased a 60 acre orchard in Cornwall. Mary lists among her reasons for farming that "it is still exciting, still a miracle to see the growing process."
"You walk into an orchard, and you feel like you've gone back in time", says owner Mary Pratt. "The industry hasn't changed much."
Happy Valley holds an exclusive market as the only orchard in Middlebury. Their customers include businesses such a the Co-op, Greg's Meat Market, and Baba's. They produce home pressed cider from their apples, as well as running a pick-your-own industry.
The Happy Valley cider making process is fairly simple: wash apples, chop with skins, toss in hydraulic press and condense. The final product is a pure cider, with no water added.
Stan and Mary believe in "good management" of their orchard. Although they do use spray to prevent apple scabs, they try to keep the chemicals at a minimum. Happy Valley Cider is un-pasteurized, as most homegrown cider is. Quality is maintained through careful picking practices, not using 'drops', utilizing a town water supply, and keeping their orchard animal free.