Chris Davies Nevin knows the ups and downs of farm life. She grew up on one called Dr. Davies, a 65-acre steading in Congers that was purchased by her great-grandmother, Dr. Lucy Davies, in 1891. While many family farms have struggled to succeed from one generation to the next, the Davies have evolved their offerings over time. When Davies Nevin’s parents took over the reins in the 1960s, they planted apple trees, added two farm stands, and sold corn and tomatoes.
Now, as the current owner, Davies Nevin is making her mark: Red Barn Cidery, an outdoor venue with live music, food trucks, and hard cider crafted from the orchard’s apples that opened in May. “Our customers told us that they love coming to our farm to apple pick and experience fall but they wanted something else to do while they were here,” says Davies Nevin, who was already producing sweet cider. “I wanted something that would be contiguous to an outdoor family vibe. A cidery seemed like a natural fit.”
The only obstacle: she had no idea how to make hard cider. So along with her husband, Jeff, and tap room manager, John Abplanalp, she set out to learn everything she could. The team attended Cider Con (like Comic Con—but for booze) and a cider university. “It’s chemistry heavy, so we had to go to school,” she says, “We also visited nearly every cidery in New York State, and I realized that we didn’t really have anything like that in Rockland.”
Today families flock to Red Barn on the weekends where lawn games like Jenga and corn hole keep kids busy while their parents relax with a glass of one of the ciders on tap: Davies Blend (their original base cider), black cherry, strawberry, and rosé. Look out for fall limited editions like cranberry and apple cider donut. Customers can also purchase cans to go.
If wine, beer, or spirits are more your style, Red Barn also offers New York-made products from Mill House Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie, Frog Alley in Schenectady, and Benmarl Winery in Marlboro. There’s food too, thanks to local trucks like Chomped, Bongo’s Fries, Romolo’s on the Road, and 5 Senses. “We want to bring in local businesses that are trying to do the same thing we are,” says Davies Nevin, who hosts rotating weekly karaoke and trivia nights, as well as events like Sip & Stem, where visitors learn to arrange wildflowers while sampling cider and small bites.
This autumn, you’ll also find all the accoutrements of fall on a farm: tractors, cider donuts, and farm stands brimming with fresh produce. “Our vision is coming to fruition,” says Davies Nevin.
For a calendar of events, visit redbarncidery.com.