Revisiting Memories at Louisburg Cider Mill
I can remember through the fire colored leaves and smell of spiced donuts, the feel of fall. Tasting the sweet, salty crunch of hot kettle corn and washing it all down with a steaming cup of fresh apple cider resonates so distinctly in my mind that I have forever loved the autumn season because of it. It was Cider Fest at Louisburg Cider Mill in Louisburg, Kansas and, luckily for me, I can revisit those memories with a short drive from Kansas City.
Louisburg Cider Mill, located at 14730 Highway K-68, was born when owners Tom and Shelly Schierman decided to renovate and make their first batch of cider in 1977. The property includes the original barn, which was converted into the cider mill; the Country Store, a neighbor’s converted barn with a wraparound porch; and a courtyard with picnic benches that adjoins the two. When the season hits, in September and October, the pumpkin patch in full swing and the corn maze is carved out for a fun challenge. The cider pressing room inside the mill is open to the public and from behind a glass wall you can watch how the process works. Steel barrels behind the bar house the cider for dispensing and sale.
Open to the public all week long, their hours depending on the season, the Country Store offers a myriad of local products including Prothe’s Pecans out of Paola, KS and Sorghum Syrup out of Rich Hills, MO – and that is just a sampling of the many delicious treats and products available. During the summer months, fresh of peaches and tomatoes line the walls. Candies, nuts, popcorns, and peppered jerky are available for purchase in old wooden barrels.
Mouth-watering sodas and spreads are on display and brighten up the coolers. Louisburg even has its own line of Lost Trail Sodas, Fruit Butters, and of course the Apple Cider, Sparkling Apple Cider, and Cider Donut mixes . The same donuts are sold freshly-made at the store, but the best time for a cider donut is hot and fresh at Cider Fest.
Cider Fest takes place on September 28th & 29th and October 5th & 6th and is free to enter with an $8 admission purchase to the pumpkin patch and corn maze. The day begins with a pancake breakfast and continues with pony rides, face painting, craft booths, and classes on how to make the cider and the donuts. The aroma of fresh-dipped caramel apples, popcorn, and homemade root beer fills the air and mingles with the sounds of live bluegrass music. The pumpkin patch offers hayrack rides out into the ten acres that the Cider Mill sits on. Straw forts and farm animals will draw in the kids and pumpkins can be collected for carving (sold separately). The corn maze is carved into a different shape every year: past years included pirates, spiders, and bats. An aerial shot of the corn maze and all information pertaining to the festivals and the Mill’s offerings can be found on Louisburg’s website, www.louisburgcidermill.com.
Memories from my youth of hot cider and hayrack rides come from Cider Fest. These fond memories were reignited on my recent visit, but I also revisit that past with the hot mulled cider that I make every fall from Louisburg Cider which is available at the store, on the website, and from the few grocers that carry it. The spices and tart apple flavor smell like fall and the addition of dark rum makes mine a grown up version of the childhood memory. It is a perfect match for spiced cake or ginger snaps. Louisburg Cider Mill will remind you of the history of artisan goods and how lucky we are to be able to still savor them.