ELLSWORTH — Sow’s Ear Winery’s proprietor Tom Hoey is among six Maine cider makers while Barbara Brooks of Seal Cove Farm and Kim Roos of Garden Side dairy in Jonesboro are among five Maine cheese makers who will be featured at the second Downeast Cider & Cheese Festival at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, in the former J&B Atlantic Building in Ellsworth. The event is broken into two seatings.
Celebrating Ellsworth’s rich apple history, Heart of Ellsworth is highlighting the revival of two traditional foods — hard cider and artisanal cheese.
The festival’s format will be a guided tasting cider and cheese. Each of the hard cider makers and artisan cheese makers from around Maine will be on hand to talk about their craft, share sips of hard cider and samples of artisanal cheese. Besides Hoye, the cider makers include Portersfield Cider in Pownal, Whaleback Farm from Lincolnville, Rocky Ground in Newburgh, Bend Bough Cider in Gardiner, Norumbega Cider in New Gloucester and Cornish Cider of Cornish.
Besides Seal Cove Farm and Garden Side Dairy, the other cheese makers include Jessie Dowling of Fuzzy udder Creamery in Whitefield, Sonnental Dairy in Smyrna Mills and Carrie and Holly Whitcomb of Springdale Farm in Waldo.
Ellsworth historian, Todd Little-Siebold will kick off the evening with a short history of old, unique varieties — heirloom — of apples in the Downeast region. The talk will highlight the importance of apples in the 1880s in Maine. At that time, Ellsworth was the top exporter of apples in the world. By 1850, the city was home to 12 commercial orchards, and in 1880 the total number of working farms had grown to 84. In 1931, a big freeze killed an estimated 330,000 trees in New England ending the apple boom.
The festival will feature live music by Bar Harbor fiddler Nikolai Fox, playing and singing old-time tunes.
Admission to the festival costs $22 per person. To reserve seats, visit heartofellsworth.org.