One of the great autumnal traditions of Western New York is to head to West Seneca and grab some real apple cider at the mill where it’s pressed.
Mayer Bros. has been making cider in West Seneca since the 1850s, even before the people in that part of the world considered themselves “West Senecans.”
Jacob Mayer founded the mill around 1852.
When his son, John Mayer, died in 1950 at the age of 86, his 110-word obituary in the Courier-Express never mentioned “West Seneca” and says Mayer, whose home was in the shadow of the mill, lived his entire life in “Blossom.”
The Hamlet of Blossom was founded in 1844 as Upper Ebenezer and renamed in 1866.
The Lancaster Times published correspondences from far out posts like Cheektowaga, Depew, Looneyville and Blossom. In October 1896, the third most important news item from Blossom was “at the cider mill of Messrs. Albert and John Mayer, 2,858 gallons of cider was made last Thursday.”
Almost 70 years later, in 1962, the third generation of Mayers – Elmer, Earl and Allen – were running the mill.
Earl explained the process to News reporter Bob Williams nearly six decades ago:
"Take an apple with plenty of color,’ he said, ‘and fully matured. That makes the best cider.’
He picked up a beauty from a pallet box, rubbed it gently in his hands and held it up to the light. It seemed to glow.
Apples used at the mill come from trees that are sprayed.
The only damage they show, and that occasionally, is a flaky spot caused by hail. Apples like that won't sell in the market, though they are good to eat and good for cider.
At the mill, the apples are inspected carefully when they arrive, washed, inspected again and sent by conveyor to the hammer-mill and the press.
Hammers crush the apples before they go to the press. A ‘load’ is about 100 bushels, from which the mill squeezes about 350 gallons of cider.”
What Earl Mayer said at the end of the pressing is still true today.
"Everybody likes sweet cider.”