Taste Heirloom-Pear Cider From a 200-Year-Old Tree

Blue Hill’s Jonathan Fisher House is hosting a public pear pressing and giving out samples.

Jonathan Fisher House heirloom-pear pressing
By Will Grunewald
Photograph by Danielle Sykes
From our October 2021 issue

In the early 19th century, Harvard-educated Congregational minister Jonathan Fisher planted an orchard at his homestead, on the Blue Hill peninsula. Improbably, one of his original pear trees still bears fruit, more than 200 years later. In 2019, the nonprofit group that manages the Jonathan Fisher House held an inaugural cider pressing with pears from that centuries-spanning tree. The pandemic derailed plans for a second annual pressing last year, and since the Delta variant started pushing case counts higher this year, the group has adopted a wait-and-see approach. In the meantime, there are alternate, boozy ways to enjoy the liquid essence of pear — Tree Spirits, in Oakland, ferments and distills pear cider into brandy, while Winterport Winery makes sparkling pear cider. And regardless of whether the pressing happens this fall at the Jonathan Fisher House, here’s betting it becomes a long-standing tradition. Things on that property have a habit of enduring.

If pears are pressed this year, on Sunday, October 10, bring a jar to take some cider home. Until then, visit jonathanfisherhouse.org for updates on coronavirus precautions. 44 Mines Rd., Blue Hill. 207-374-2459.