As we celebrate the birthday of our great country, it is fitting that we make a toast. But what filled the glasses and mugs of our founding fathers and mothers? One such choice was apple cider. Not just the refreshing pressed kind pressed straight from the fruit but the hard kind that has fermented into alcohol.
Apples were plentiful in New England and later cultivated widely in the South. Due to their ability to flourish in a wide variety of soils, apple orchards were abundant. “Early Americans drank a lot of cider. Settlers brought apple seeds from England and planted orchards as soon as they arrived. Cider production far outpaced beer. President John Adams was said to drink a tankard of cider every morning.” (1)
A stroll through the valleys of Mountain City Georgia may help to tell the story or at at least reveal a historical connection. In 1906 apple orchards were planted in Mountain City and received the prized recognition of first place in the National Apple Show, within three years in 1909. The Cathey Family was a large part of the apple industry in Rabun County. According to the Rabun County Historical Society, the Cathey family built the Cathey Packing House to support the yield from the nearly 1,200 apple trees planted. More than 30,000 bushels were transported annually out of the county.
Today, Urban Tree Cidery, located in Atlanta produces a variety of hard ciders from apples grown on the Cathey Family Orchard in Mountain City, Ga.
Want to drink like our forefathers on the Fourth and show your appreciation of Rabun county history, then reach for a bottle of apple cider. Cheers.
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(1) Georgia Cider Sales Are on the Rise
October 1, 2017 restaurantinformer.com By Lara Creasy
Rabun County Historical Society