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South Mountain Speakers Series Event to Focus on Recreating the Cider Industry Locally

A unique and growing aspect of fruit production in the region will be the topic of the next lecture in the South Mountain Speakers Series on Oct. 4-5 and 11-12, at the National Apple Harvest Festival in Arendtsville, Adams County.

“The Changing Face of Agriculture in the South Mountain Region: Recreating the Cider Industry,” will be held at 2 p.m. on each of the four days of the festival at the South Mountain Fairgrounds. The lectures will be held along the “Demo Stretch” of the fairgrounds, next to the Kettle Korn.

“This panel discussion will explore how four family farms are finding renewed economic success by turning back to producing sweet and hard cider,” said Jon Peterson, a planner with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy who is coordinating the committee on the speaker series. “The products of the Fruit Belt centered in Adams County – mostly apples and peaches – are the primary reason Pennsylvania ranks near the top of all states in fruit production.”

The panel discussion will include representatives from Hauser Estate Winery who will outline how their hard cider production is transitioning their farm and business; Reid’s Winery will discuss the planting and use of heirloom cider apples for its production; Big Hill Winery and Cider Works will talk about creating a modern farm business based on the old value-added product of cider; and representatives of Oyler’s Organic Farm and Market will discuss transitioning from conventional to organic apple growing and sweet cider production.
This event is supported by the Gettysburg Wine and Fruit Trail and the South Mountain Partnership. The panel discussion is free, however there is a charge to enter the festival grounds.
The annual South Mountain Speakers Series is envisioned as a revival of the talks given by Joseph Rothrock in the late 19th century as part of his work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania’s forests and natural landscape. The fifth season of the Speakers Series is sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau.
The final lecture this year will be:
      “Changing Climate and the South Mountain Region,” Nov. 13 at Dickinson College.

The South Mountain Partnership is a public-private partnership between DCNR and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and has grown into a coalition of citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations and government representatives in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties, working together to protect and enhance the South Mountain landscape.

South Mountain is at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Communities in the 400,000-acre region have thrived off fertile limestone agricultural lands, the timber that fed iron furnaces, plentiful game and wildlife, and abundant pure spring water that is captured by the mountains’ permeable soils and released into the valleys.

For more information about the speaker series, visit or call the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at 717-258-5771.

Some of the earlier lectures in the speaker series can be found on YouTube at