I am wondering if there are other members from the northern prairies who are brewing cider from locally grown varieties.
I am in southern Manitoba, about 14 miles north of North Dakota. I live in a town known for its "Corn and Apple" festival (without any commercial apple growers!) In the past the Agriculture Canada research station located in town produced a good collection of apple varieties hardy enough for the region. One of the best know varieties was the Goodland, a eating/baking apple.
Another variety that is popular out here is an apple/crab known as Trail. I made my first ciders (single variety) ever this fall from three locally grown apples; 5 1/2 gallons of Trail, 6 gallons of Goodland, and about 5 gallons from a mystery apple I was allowed to pick in a stranger's backyard. Of those three, the Trail is my favourite. It seems to be balanced and when back sweetened and carbonated, some say it tastes like a Strongbow. The other varieties come across as sour and a little watery. There are still in secondary and may improve if I back sweeten and carbonate.
Here is a list of trees hardy in our region. (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3A)
Are there any others here who are making local ciders in the area...southern Manitoba, all of North Dakota, and north western Minnesota? If so, what varieties are you growing/fermenting? I'd like to be able to share notes.