By Sabrina Sucato
Pennings Farm Market may have started as a farm when Jack Pennings bought 100 acres of farmland in Warwick, NY in 1980. But over the almost 40 years since its creation, Pennings has steadily evolved to become a destination experience: farm, cidery, market, pub, grill, beer garden, hop yard, ice cream stand, garden center, and more.
The Pennings Farm Cidery is what initially caught my eye. Brother and sister Tori and Stephen Pennings opened the Cidery in December 2014 to complement the operations already underway at the farm. As the newest generation to take a stab at the farm business, Tori and Stephen elevate time-honored traditions to a new level. Their cider is made from Pennings Farm apples, and they serve only New York State food and drink at the events they host to draw in a younger food-loving crowd.
Tori and Stephen are dedicated to keeping Cidery operations as Pennings-centric as possible. “Our pumpkin cider uses our own Pennings Farm pumpkin puree,” revealed Tori. “My favorite ingredient is the honey in our Honey Hopped and Honey Razz ciders, which comes straight from the bees that pollinate our apple trees in the spring.” In addition to Pennings’ own honey resources, Honey Hopped is made with six varieties of Pennings Farm apples and three types of Pennings-grown hops.
Beyond the Cidery, Pennings offers some of the more expected farm activities as well. The Pennings orchard, which grows 26 varieties of apples and is open for pick-your-own every fall, is still run by Jack Pennings, the farm’s founder. Jack’s brother, Steve, and Steve’s wife, Jill, run the bulk of the farm’s attractions, like the pub and grill serving local farm-to-table everything, the beer garden with live music and lawn games, and the garden center that stocks everything from potted plants to outdoor furniture.
Craft brews? Check. Locally sourced ingredients? Check. Droolworthy flavor combinations? Check. On top of that, the dynamic duo behind the Cidery have the entertainment factor covered as well. Sunset Yoga on the Farm sounds far classier than the standard hayrides and corn mazes, which is precisely the point. A spot of exercise and meditation followed by a cool brew with friends is the new version of evening entertainment and drinks. It makes the farm feel sexy again.
The key to Pennings’ success is that it doesn’t rely upon just one draw. Some people may come to pick apples but will end up staying for live music in the beer garden. Others may visit the Cidery for tastings only to make their way over to the Grill for dinner. As society focuses more and more on the experiential over the material, Pennings seems to be on the right track. A trip to the farm is not a one-and-done kind of experience. Pennings hooks you with one thing and keeps you there with a dozen more. Welcome to the new farm model.
161 NY-94 Warwick, NY 10990
Photos: Chia Messina