Cool Things - Louisburg Apple Cider
Apple cider has been a popular drink for many centuries. One early mention comes from an ancient Greek geographer who described a beverage in Gaul (modern-day France) made from apple pieces, water, and honey. By the beginning of the 9th century, apple cider was popular throughout Europe. British immigrants to North America introduced the best apple varieties for cider during the colonial era, and American legend Johnny Appleseed and others helped encourage the fruit's cultivation. As settlers continued to migrate westward on the continent, apple trees and apple cider spread with them.
One of the western locations to which apple trees were transplanted was Louisburg, Kansas. A fruit farm and nursery operated southwest of the present-day town as early as the late 1800s.
Today, Tom and Shelly Schierman continue the long tradition of apple cider production at their Louisburg Cider Mill, where they have been bottling apple cider since the fall of 1977. That first year, the Schiermans restored their farm's hay barn and outfitted it with a cider press. They pressed cider from apples grown in their 80-acre orchard, selling it from the back of their barn using a bulk tank with a spigot. The following year they purchased a neighbor's barn, relocated it next to theirs, and converted it into a store.
Growing apples in Kansas is challenging due to unpredictable weather. Late spring frosts can destroy blooms, and early fall frosts damage fruit on the trees. Jonagold, Gala, Empire, and Golden and Red Delicious apples are the best varieties to grow in Kansas, according to K-State Research and Extension. The Louisburg Cider Mill presses 75% of its juice from Jonathans, sometimes purchasing apples grown as far away as Texas, Illinois, and Michigan. Apples traditionally were pressed using horse- or water-powered mills, but today electrified machines usually do the job.
Over the years the Schiermans have expanded their apple products to include cider doughnuts baked on-site, apple butter, syrups, jellies and jams, spice packets, and a variety of ciders. When the Kansas sun is beating down, one of Louisburg's sparkling apple ciders hits the spot.
These product packages from the Louisburg Cider Mill were collected by staff at the Kansas Museum of History.
Entry: Cool Things - Louisburg Apple Cider
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: January 2011
Date Modified: December 2014
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.