Fond memories of Fuhrman's historic past ...
then moving into our new home in 2010 ...

Fuhrman's Cider Mill was established by Charles Fuhrman in Belle Valley, a small suburban community of Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1896.  This small business remained in the same family for over 100 years.  Ethan Fuhrman inherited it from his father, Charles, who passed away in the early 1920's.  After continuing the business in the same manner for nearly forty years, Ethan sold the Mill to Robert Fuller (his nephew) and George Engesser, Jr. (Fuller's son-in-law.)  These two gentlemen were partners in ownership of the Mill from 1971 until 2005.  Mr. Engesser, ready to retire from the cider business, sold Fuhrman's to the Mill's major apple vendor, Roger Schultz and Bill Gunther, owners of Schultz Farms in North East  These gentlemen not only continued the Fuhrman traditions, but also expanded the offerings at the Mill store.

In 2007 tragedy struck Fuhrman's Cider Mill.  A terrible fire destroyed the entire building and brought the cider making to a halt after over 110 years.  For the next three years Mr. Schultz and Mr. Gunther exhausted every effort to rebuild the Mill on its original location; but to no avail.  They were forced to make the sad decision to close the doors forever.  Many concerned citizens were very unhappy with this turn of events.  Many felt something somehow needed to be done to re-open the Cider Mill.  A local group of private citizens formed a partnership in 2010 to re-open Fuhrman's Cider Mill, moving the location to an area better suited for rebuilding and expanding the Mill.  The group calls itself the 8270 Group, symbolizing the new address of Fuhrman's Cider Mill, 8270 Peach Street, in Summit Township, just a few miles away from the original Belle Valley location.

The Mill itself holds the grinder and press that still uses the same process that is as old as the legend of Johnny Appleseed.  The original building was refurbished over the years, but there was nothing changed in the cider making process.  They used the original grinder and press that were put in when Mr. Fuhrman built the place.  Even the new building houses the original cider presses, salvaged from the fire; as well as much of the other cider equipment.  Some new pieces were needed, but the process remains the same, insuring the quality expected of Fuhrman's Apple Cider.  The grinder consists of a drum with knives in it that spins around and cuts up the apples.  The apples are then pumped through a hose into a cloth that is draped into form.  The corners of the cloth are folded over and a plastic rack is then placed on top of it.  This continues until the cloths are stacked approximately four feet high (about fifteen layers high.)  Then, the whole cart is pushed down a rail to the hydraulic press.  This press can exert up to 140 tons of pressure and when fully squeezed, the apple cloths are only about one and a half feet high, instead of the four feet that it started with.  After the cider is pressed from the crushed apples, it runs through pipe lines to a settling tank and then on to the pasteurizer, which insures its safety for consumption.  From there it flows to a cooled bulk tank, where it is stored until ready to be bottled.  Next it travels overhead and out of the Cider Press Room, to an overhead tank in the Bottling Room.  It is pumped down to the bottling machine, filling containers for the public.


In the early years of the store, there was only an old cement floor and a bulk tank with four hoses coming out of the bottom to fill jugs in a little showroom that was not much to speak of.  Now, there is a modern storeroom, although fashioned after an old-time general store, equipped to offer the customer not only the same Fuhrman's Cider everyone has enjoyed over the years, but a fully-equipped Bakery, offering all the sweet treats you could imagine!  The early morning scent of fresh-baked donuts, pastries, pies, cakes and breads will coax many hungry tasters into the store.  Traditional Fuhrman's favorites are also present in the new store:  apple butter, honey, maple syrup, jams and jellies, homemade fudge, and baskets and baskets of Schultz Farm apples.  The new store boasts many new products to Fuhrman's as well.  Shoppers can now stop here to quench their desire for our Coffee Bar, Slushies (try the apple cider variety), and Deli sandwiches (including Smith's famous hot dogs and ox roast sandwiches.)  The General Store features fruit and produce from local farmers; a Lil' Apples kid's shopping zone; local favorites like Smith's meats; Stefanelli's Candies, Chuck & Ginny's Spaghetti Sauce (just to name a few.)  "Dry Goods" include many unique gifts, seasonal and otherwise, sure to provide all with a pleasurable shopping experience ... from decorative yard flags to bird feeders / from gourmet recipe items to kitchen gadgets galore / from firewood and log holders to candy and canning aids / from candy apples to pumpkins to mum plants ... you'll find it all as you browse through our "Old General Store."

When the Cider Mill was first established, it was only open during the cider season, from around Labor Day to Thanksgiving, only two or three months of the year.  Expansion and demand in the market caused the store to extend their season to December 24th.  In recent years it opened as early as the last week of August and remained open until New Year's Eve.  In 2010, with the new location and expanded store offerings, Fuhrman's is now able to be open year-round for the first time ever.  

Fuhrman's Cider Mill has a storied history of opening their doors to elementary school tours during the cider season.  The new Fuhrman's Cider Mill ~ Bakery ~ General Store is excited to continue the tradition and expand tours to include our new Bakery Kitchen, as well.  Whether your group is small or large, school-age children or adults, we're happy to schedule a tour of our facility.  We're looking forward to seeing you often!


ERIE, PA 16509
(814) 864-1125 phone
(814) 864-1135 fax

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