Pownal farm taps power of apples, sun

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POWNAL — A visit to Portersfield Cider on May 25 will allow people to do two things: taste artisan ciders crafted by David Buchanan and get a look at the 16 solar panels on the farm’s roof powering the cider mill.

Portersfield Cider is based at the farm where Buchanan and his wife Karla live. The company’s name stems from an old family name, Buchanan said. 

Beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday at 255 Elmwood Road, visitors can attend an open house featuring the rooftop solar electric system. After the 90-minute tour, attendees can sample hard ciders brewed by Buchanan. 

ReVision Energy is hosting the open house. Since 2003, the Portland-based company has worked with residential, commercial and nonprofit associations to install solar panels and rely on sustainable solar energy.

Marketing Manager Jennifer Hatch said the Pownal installation shows there is no one-size-fits-all mode for solar installation; each solar energy contract is unique to the person or company that invests in solar power. 

“What they spend could be very different from what another business spends,” she said. 

Buchanan said so far, the solar panels “are working very cleanly.”

“It doesn’t require any attention and it feels really good to be generating energy,” he said.

The Massachusetts native is not operating a restaurant or bar; visitors can sample his cider in a tasting room, which is open Wednesday through Saturday.

Buchanan is no stranger to the power of all things apple; he is a horticulturist who cultivates heirloom apple varieties to keep them vibrant.

To keep some once-popular fruits and vegetables from being forgotten and a fading memory, Buchanan works to preserve them.

His book, Taste, Memory: Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter, is a testament to his work and quest.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

David and Karla Buchanan’s home and farm at 255 Elmwood Road in Pownal is the site of a May 25 cider tasting and a discussion about the solar panels that power the operation.