Fran Kelsch’s pies and tarts – as well as cookies, muffins and other treats like apple butter – originate from recipes she developed and perfected over the years. She answers the phone for the mill in the bakery kitchen and takes pie orders, as she wants her retail staff in the store to be focused on the customers.
“It’s just like grandma’s kitchen because it is grandma’s kitchen,” Dale Kelsch joked.
Barney and Fran Kelsch remain committed to their craft after nearly a half-century of running the mill. They took over from Barney’s parents, who purchased the farm in the 1940s and added the cider mill in the space underneath the barn that used to be for cow stalls in the early 1950s.
Barney grew up here and started helping his father press apples into cider when he was 11 years old. Back then, the Kelsch family used wooden tanks to store the cider and glass jugs to sell it. He married Fran six decades ago, and they raised seven kids who helped them with the business.
“We got married and said, ‘Bring it on,’ ” Fran said. “We do what we do, whatever comes down the pike.”
Just as Fran works to pick the perfect selection of fruit for Cherry Bank’s pies, Barney makes sure the cider is an ideal blend of apples from what’s available across the county and prides himself on a clean, consistent product. Customers often compare the experience of drinking Cherry Bank’s cider to biting into an apple, Dale Kelsch said. Any cider pressed and bottled at Cherry Bank is sold at the store within three days – and often sooner.