AMESBURY (CBS) – Celebrating its 350th birthday this year, Amesbury is one of the oldest towns in America, but it actually has a city form of government.
This quaint, mostly residential community is home to the oldest, continuously operating wood boat shop in America. Lowell’s Boat Shop is a working museum and continues to make the same dories and skiffs it has made for two centuries.
Amesbury is also known as the horse-drawn carriage capital of the world. At the turn of the century the industry was central to this community’s economy.
Farming is also an important part of this community’s past, and one local farmer is looking to take it into the future.
At Cider Hill Farm, the name says it all. There are cider donuts that, during the heart of the fall season, draw crowds willing to wait in line.
“On busy days, the donut machines start at 6 a.m. and don’t stop until 6 p.m.,” explained store manager and marketing director Jenny Durocher.
There are also cases and cases of sweet cider that the farm presses right on site.
And in the last few years, this family-owned farm has started making several varieties of hard cider, two of which have won awards for being among the best in the world. “It’s made with a lot of love,” explained owner Karen Cook.
“Everything we do here requires a lot of electricity,” explained Karen’s husband and co-owner, Glenn Cook. “We have so much refrigeration, the donut machines, the lighting.”
That’s why Glenn and Karen decided to generate their own energy. “We really care about the land and the environment,” Glenn said.
Three towering wind turbines and a field of solar panels produce enough electricity to power about 85-percent of the operation, and that includes several homes located on the property. According to Glenn, there have been times when they’ve actually operated on 100-percent sustainable energy. Someday he hopes to make that happen all year round.
The Cooks installed their first wind turbines back in 2007, then they followed with the solar farms. When they first started, Glenn says he was asked to speak at several industry gatherings to share what he had learned with other farmers. Since then, many other farms, large and small, have made a commitment to renewable energy.
According to the Cooks, the sustainable energy will help keep the farm running for generations to come.
“We run with a very light footprint and it’s harvested from what’s coming onto the farm naturally,” Glenn said.