SOUTHINGTON, CT (WFSB) – Like many towns in Connecticut, Southington started out as a farming community, but also like many towns, manufacturing took over.
Southington’s farming roots still stand strong, especially with a certain fruit.
Walking through the Southington Historical Society Museum is like walking through the town’s resume. They created the first machine-made bolts contributed to all major war efforts.
The town is also the birthplace of the photo booth.
Town Historian Phil Wooding says Southington experience industrial revolutions after the Civil War and World War I.
“Where different manufacturing processes are greatly improved and a lot more product is being put out,” Wooding said.
Each one putting the town’s agricultural dominance further on the backburner.
“The town went from this agrarian aspect into being an industrial town and it meant that a lot of the farmland we had in town because more valuable as housing,” Wooding said.
Farming never fully went away in Southington. Since 1969, it’s been home to the Apple Harvest Festival.
The town’s connection to the apple can be seen year-round at Rogers’ Orchard. Now being run by the 8th generation of the Rogers family, it first started in 1809, the same year Abraham Lincoln was born.
A big reason why Southington is called the apple valley is because of Rogers’ Orchard. For hundreds of years, the family has managed nearly 400 acres of land, 200 of them being apples.
Rogers’ Orchards is the largest orchard in the state. Its apples have been enjoyed right off the tree and made into cider and apple cider donuts.
Peter Rogers says there’s no greater joy than to see the generations of other families come through his family’s orchard.
“The land that we have in Southington is important to us. We’re stewards of the land and we’re always thinking about the next generation and how to grow these apples more sustainable and how we can do less of an impact on the environment and taking care of our land is our greatest asset,” Rogers said.