Where do you get your cider apples?

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truckjohn

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Hey guys,

In another thread... we have been talking about cider apples and how much harder they seem to be getting.... But... It's good to start thinking about this stuff now - so you can have some resources come Cider Makin' Time...

So... Where do you get your "Cider apples"

For me....
I talk with the old guys at the orchards... (Face to face, not on the phone..) They have pointed me towards several apple varieties that seem to work well... For the most part - they are making blended cider out of eating apples (That's what they grow)... They tend to use a lot of stuff like Wine sap, Cameo, Yates, and Braeburn around here...

Most of them also grow Crab apples for pollinators - and these mostly work wonders when mixing them into the drinking ciders to add "Bitter" and "Sharp" flavor elements..

I have also started scouting out yard apple, crab apple, and pear trees... and have had quite a bit of success just asking people if I could have their apples... For the most part - they are glad to see them go... Less mess for them to clean up...

Last - I am planting my own... I started off with a few heirloom apples 3 years ago. I ate my 1st ever home grown apple this fall... It was wonderful! This year, I am planting at least 2 perry pears, a crab apple, and a proper Cider apple to the mix...

How about you? :mug:
 

kurtism

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being a native new yorker...we have an abundance of apples in the fall for the taking. this year i thought i picked enough apples to make enough cider for the year...i was wrong.
 

LeBreton

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Mainly interested in juice here, making your own is typically more expensive and lots of work too, but the results can be worth it. Don't own a press but have access to a counter-top juicer which I slaved over for 3 hours the other day to fill a single 5 gallon carboy after scoring a trunkload of free heritage apples from work.

http://www.orangepippin.com/orchards/united-states is a useful resource for locating orchards.

I was in a bind over juice until the other day when I was chatting with another local cidermaker who turned me on to an orchard who will be pressing well into spring. Can't stress the benefits of getting in touch with people in you area who make cider.
 

phaem

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My apples are getting on 20 years old now, mostly on seedling Antonovka rootstock, and mostly field-grafted by myself all those years ago. The varieties are mostly heirloom with some classical cider varieties. They were planted primarily to be trees, not specifically for the fruit, but I figured at the time that they just as well be interesting apples as well as trees. Nowadays I press starting in September through early November - if I feel like it. The cider goes in the freezer in gallon jugs mostly as single varietals, but when i get lazy I'll blend at the press. Many of the dessert varieties yield juice readily and serve to extract flavor from the often lower-yielding but nicer (for cider) varieties. In the past my juice was used fresh, but thanks in large part to this site some is contributing to particular eukaryotic reproductive frenzies (yeast growth). I had a flirtation evaluating rootstocks of the day, so some trees are on EMLA 7, Mark, and P22. The only trees that required staking, believe it or not, are on standard rootstock. Some will lean, from the effects of sunscald I think, so I pull them upright after a soaking rain with a skidloader and prop them up. Seems crude, but the trees don't appear to mind. The 20-year old P22trees stand about 7 feet tall, bear annually, and rarely get pruned. Too small for me, they make interesting bonzai-type specimens. There are a few acres planted in apples, and it turns out I am required to fill out the periodic USDA Ag Census for them even though I do not engage in any commercial sales. People apparently drive by, see the trees, and turn you in as an 'orchard'. Dang it!
 

dinnerstick

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phaem, i wish i had you as a neighbor. no idea how to say your name but i would sure as shiite help you on pressing day
i live in the city, no yard. the countryside here is a good apple region but there is no cider tradition in holland. thus no cider varieties. however i work a few minutes from a good sized orchard that grows 6 or so apple varieties and a few pears. i can get the ugly and smaller apples cheap off the grumpy farmer. i use cox orange pippin and the sweet dutch variety elstar, as base, mix in around 10% sharps like granny smith, and this year i started supplementing with crab apples from wherever i could find them (i can't believe it took this long to learn about using crabs!!). as my ciders get better every year and i start giving them out to more people, friends, and friends of friends, and great uncles of girlfriends of friends' cousins are coming out of the woodwork with buckets and boxes of dirty strange apples from the ancient tree at the back of the garden. i mix in desserts to get the sugar up and throw in a handful of crabs. that has made for some very interesting one-off random small batches this (last) year.
 

dinnerstick

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sorry to prattle on but it just occurred to me, i first started making cider a few years back because i had a friend with a couple trees and a dinky press. he was pressing, pasteurizing and bottling, he didn't know you could ferment the juice easily, so he would give it to me and i would dump it in my beer carboy, let it go, rack a few times, and wait a few months, prime and bottle. it always turned out pretty good. i didn't even know then that people made cider with propagated yeast, or from juice in bottles for that matter, until i found HBT years later! this site has been really helpful and has helped me improve my stone age cider making techniques greatly.
and it made me build a kegerator but that's a different story...
 

Dicky

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I have a tree in my backgraden that gets really full of apples. I stood looking at them go to waste and thought it would be nice to use them.And that's pretty much how I got into cider making. It was fortunate that this tree happened to be an coxs pippin.
My parents are really into horticulture and thus have several different fruit trees in their garden. They have a good bramley tree and a crab apple tree that's really not doing so well but gives out a little fruit. So, in return for letting me pick them, I supply my parents with cider.

I also have a table top press and I agree, it takes a jolly long time. But this year I plan on building on using an old car jack. I also have gathered a bunch of volunteers to help me pick the apples following the success of last years cider.

Dicky
 

gratus fermentatio

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Hey guys,

In another thread... we have been talking about cider apples and how much harder they seem to be getting.... But... It's good to start thinking about this stuff now - so you can have some resources come Cider Makin' Time...

So... Where do you get your "Cider apples"

For me....
I talk with the old guys at the orchards... (Face to face, not on the phone..) They have pointed me towards several apple varieties that seem to work well... For the most part - they are making blended cider out of eating apples (That's what they grow)... They tend to use a lot of stuff like Wine sap, Cameo, Yates, and Braeburn around here...

Most of them also grow Crab apples for pollinators - and these mostly work wonders when mixing them into the drinking ciders to add "Bitter" and "Sharp" flavor elements..

I have also started scouting out yard apple, crab apple, and pear trees... and have had quite a bit of success just asking people if I could have their apples... For the most part - they are glad to see them go... Less mess for them to clean up...

Last - I am planting my own... I started off with a few heirloom apples 3 years ago. I ate my 1st ever home grown apple this fall... It was wonderful! This year, I am planting at least 2 perry pears, a crab apple, and a proper Cider apple to the mix...

How about you? :mug:
I don't think there is a single cider apple cultivar in the entire state of Montana, and I've looked high & low for them. Short of either going to WA or growing my own I have to make do with what I can get locally & that usually means Macintosh. There are a couple other cultivars grown here, but none of them are cider varieties.

I've been looking for a good source for crab apples, but most people give you a funny look when you ask about crabapples, at least they do around here. Been thinking of planting my own. Might be worth it, considering the deer would love the fruit. ;)
Regards, GF.
 

phaem

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The deer seem to love the whole thing - fruit, twigs, branches. When they get done with those, they work the bark off the trunk. Around here, they'll mangle apple trees (and conifers) under about 10' tall. It's one of the reasons I go for larger trees.

If you happen to plant your own in Montana, I'd humbly put my 2 cent vote to Golden Russet and Wickson. Golden Russet doesn't yield a lot of cider per bushel (maybe half to 2/3 of a 'normal' apple) but the cider it yields is to die for. Here on the northern edge of zone 5 it does very well and yields annually. It's quite vigorous and will become a larger tree than average for the rootstock its put on. Apples hang and hold their condition well after frost in most years, extending the season one can press. Wickson is very sweet and a bit too tart to eat out of hand. Relatively small apples, they kind of fill the gap between a more common crab and a 'real' apple, but they make lots of them in clumps. These apples also hang well after frost in most years. These trees are more average in vigor, but in my hands are trouble-free. One of the things, I think, that comes from using this type of apple is the relatively lower pH of the juice compared to juice from all dessert apples. With the lower pH the juice is more resistant to infection, and sulfite is more effective.
 

phaem

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Dinnerstick - I wish you lived near me too. Harvesting and pressing is a very pleasant social activity which seems to go better with at least 2 souls. Your sense of humor is an interesting dry one - at one point you recommended something like 'a gallon sounds like a wierd alien measure. I would avoid it.' Good stuff! My 'name' is a contraction of 'Pasteurella haemolytica', a now obsolete name for a set of bacteria that were split into three genus/species. Probably of little use in making cider, these bacteria are obligate commensals of ruminant respiratory tracts where they may under appropriate conditions become pathogenic and cause rather acute and devastating disease conditions.

I've tried to grow Cox (albeit using my minimalist approach) and have failed. I'm jealous of you folks in Europe where it sounds almost as if Cox is growing wild in the fencerow.
 

vze2hnvz

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I'll second on how much deer like my apple's. With the deer on my property, the funny thing is, they will eat every single pear within reach before they start on a single apple.

I have an old unkempt orchard I purchased a few years ago with 500 or so apple and pear trees that still produce, despite not having any upkeep for at least 15-20 years or so. I bought the property mainly to hunt deer and fish for salmon and trout. I never considered the orchard, but then the apple trees got me thinking of cider, a farmer got me thinking of hard cider, and that brought me here.

Unfortunately the apples are all Idared variety, and half are covered with poison ivy. I have to get out there this spring and do some major pruning, just for the health of the trees. I might plant a few new varieties as well and build a press and try these out as a cider/perry in the future if I can find the time. The juice I bought this year comes from a farmer right down the road. He presses a proper cider mix a couple days a season just for hard cider makers at a very reasonable price. I'm kinda short of time for growing/picking/hauling/pressing my own as of now, so I'm in no great hurry.

If your in my neck of the woods, and need some apples/pears, let me know. As of now the lion's share go to the deer and back to fertilizer. I just require a sampling of the final product. ;)
 

jkoegel

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Living in western NY I am very spoiled with the supply of locally grown apples at my disposal. There is one Farm I have found to be very helpful as they supply a lot of home brewers with unpasteurized cider. The Farmer is also rather knowledgeable and willing to help a newbie when it comes to tips and tricks.
I am looking forward to next fall. He tells me they press a special run of Cider apples. Not really drinkable as a sweet cider but perfect for fermenting. The blend is still a closely guarded family secret. I am told it is handed down through 5 generations of cider makers. I am going to make sure all my Carboys are empty when those apples are pressed.
Anyone in Rochester / western NY interested PM me and I'll give you the info.
 

Womblesd

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I started an orchard 5 years ago with vintage cider varieties, 20 so far, and will start about 20 more varieties this spring. After the trees produce more than I can use, I plan to sell apples and blended juice to local cyder makers, maybe this fall, but probably fall of 2013.
 

gregbathurst

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I've had my place 100 miles west of Sydney (in the ranges) for 17 years now. When I first moved here I planted some apple trees including a sweet alford cider apple. I wish I had planted a bittersweet like dabinett instead, but I now get plenty apples for making cider. I also planted a John downie crab, and after a couple of years planted seeds from this tree. These seedlings and now quite large and produce good crops of quite large crabs, so I have plenty of trees for bittersweets. It shows if you have plenty of land it is worth putting in a few seedlings, even if the fruit isn't good for cider you will get beautiful trees and you may get something really good. Apples are self sterile so you always get a lot of variety in the seedlings.

I also raise a few seedlings of apples and pears each year because their is a research station nearby where I can get scions of cider and perry cultivars, so I graft these onto seedling rootstocks (about 15 each year). In a few years I should have enough to sell cider juice to homebrewers. This year I may have enough crab juice to sell a small amount.
 
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