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LANCASTER, Pa. — Turkey Hill Dairy, a sister company of Turkey Hill Minit Markets, kicked off the year-long celebration of its 85th anniversary by paying tribute to its own farming roots and the generations-old beverage known as a switchel by launching a new line of drinks called Haymakers.
Haymakers, available in ciders, punches and teas, are made using simple ingredients such as ginger, honey, vinegar and molasses. The new six-flavor lineup includes Berry Punch, Lemon Punch, Sweet Tea, Lightly Sweet Tea, Original Cider, and Tart Cider.
"Before sports drinks and fortified waters there was switchel, and it helped get farmers through the hottest summer days of the hay harvest," said Derek Frey, Turkey Hill product development manager and great-grandson of Armor Frey, who founded Turkey Hill in 1931. "Recreating that recipe with a 21st-century twist was the inspiration behind Haymakers."
Switchel arrived in the American colonies in the late 17th century and became a traditional drink enjoyed by thirsty farmers by the 19th century. Recipes often varied slightly, with some, like the flavors in the Haymakers lineup, adding a splash of apple cider vinegar. The end result was a beverage that curbed thirst during summer days in the fields, according to the dairy.
The natural ingredients in switchel and now in Haymakers were selected to deliver key benefits. Ginger soothed and settled the stomach, while vinegar quenched thirst better than plain water. Ingredients also changed based on what was widely available in each region, with New England farmers and those in the northern states typically sweetening their beverages with molasses, while southern farmers preferred honey.
Haymakers is available in 18.5-ounce and 57.6-ounce sizes at select grocers and convenience stores where Turkey Hill products are sold.