I start pressing Cider,which feels like, “WAY BACK” in mid September. Only two months but it feels like a lifetime looking back over the hectic rapid fire pace of the season.
Early in the season it was always a struggle to round up enough ripe sweet apples for the sweet component of the early cider. Ergo a more tart early cider. That all changed as the production of the HoneyCrisp increased over the last 15 years. A side Benifit of all the issues and faults growing HoneyCrisp, there are so many sweet apples available for cider early in the pressing season.
The cider starts sweet and just gets sweeter.
About this time of year my taste buds start looking for something more in the cider. I found if I allowed the GrannySmith to ripen on the tree, initially it was discovering the hidden gem that escaped the pickers in early November and having a snack while mowing and tidying the Orchard before winter.
A tree ripe Granny is almost yellow when fully ripe. Almost 30 years ago now I started making a couple small batches of this incredible TART/sweet singe variety cider each year.
Early December is Granny pressing season as well as Pink Lady the newest addition to that unique TART/sweet cider I enjoy and love making.
A foot note to my cider makers. All the TART/sweet ciders: Winesap, GoldRush, GrannySmith and PinkLady are incredible for “Hard” Cider.
I will keep you all posted on the availability of the above mentioned Cider
THE BAD NEWS: I couldn’t get all the GoldRush picked and into the storage ahead of the recent cold weather that dipped into the high teens. The apples froze on the trees. I’m going to be short of GoldRush to sell in the Market going into December. If you enjoy those Late Keepers don’t wait to long. Stock up for the Winter and Spring with them now.
THE GOOD NEWS: I still picked them and there are even more apples than normal to press into that incredible TART/Sweet single Variety cider that Nancy discovered several years ago while minding the press and sampling the batches. I’ve been making and jugging GoldRush as a varietial ever since. Of all the cider I make ever year, I look forward to this one the most. The GoldRush and WineSap, JR’s personal favorite is being made Wednesday. Give yourself a special treat for Thanksgiving and make a trip out to the farm for some of the best of “The Best Darn Cider”
Pure “HoneyCrisp” “GoldenDelicious” and “Late
Harvest Jonathan” are pressed and in the market for sale this week ended!!!!!!!
I’ll be finishing the picking as the weather allows over the next couple weeks. All the late varieties are now in the the market for sale. As time allows I’ll post a comprehensive list.
The market hours changed on November 1. Weekdays I’ll be closing at 5:00 the opening times will remain the same as well as the weekend hours.
Saturday/Sunday 9:00 till 5:00
Tuesday-Friday 10:00 till 5:00
A limited number of Pink Lady and Late Fuji will be available starting Tuesday Oct. 24. There are plenty to pick yet but these will be the first in the market.
I expect to have some Granny Smith and York Imperial for sale on Wednesday Oct 25 if the rain lets up so I can get some picked. The GoldRush are about a week away from picking so I’ll keep you posted on them too.
The enterprise are picked, if you would like to have some please ask in the Market. They are being used for hard cider this year as soon as they mellow for a couple weeks to round out and be ready to press.
New varieties this week
The bridge replacement on Southview Road has yet to start. It looks like the repaving of Millers Run Road (Rt 50) is progressing after Columbia Gas replaced its residential lines. You can still expect slight delays traveling from the East for another week.
The harvest is moving forward between the rain drops. These varieties are new this weekend.
NITTANY: This Apple is one of my favorites, originally selected from a breeding program at WVU to find a more grower friendly replacement for the York Imperial. By a twist of fate Nittany was released by Penn State and not by WVU as the “Mountaineer”
This is a good keeper, sweet with a distinct flavor similar to the York variety, one of its parents. The Nittany is also a superior baking apple with a golden flesh when baked or used for sauce.
MUTSU: a huge green/yellow variety originating in Japan. Growers in New York pushed for a name change years ago to “Americanize” the name so at times you might see it labeled as Crispin.
The complexity of flavors and how they change as the Apple ripens is incredible to experience. The MUTSU is not just for eating. I can think of several customers that buy bushels for making sauce each year.
WINESAP: an heirloom variety dating back to colonial Virginia. After the annual tasting this past spring of my hard cider trails every one wanted to take home the winesap hard cider.
Hard Cider, Baking, Sauce and good tart Apple for eating. This is a taste from the past that has stood the test of time.
Staymen: this hybrid of the Winesap with the latter name used interchangeably with the former at times. A little sweeter, for eating, but unmistakabley in the Winesap family of apples.
For our older customers you’ll recognize this apple. The Staymen trees were planted along Route 50 in 1956. And were long lived. They were so tempting to passing motorists that many went missing before harvest. The original PYO
OTHER VARIETIES: I have sold the last of the Jonamac and GingerGold but everything else is in good supply. Please see the details of all the other varieties availible for sale from last weekends post.
The Braeburn will reappear in the sales room next week for the first time since neighbor Dave “Bud” Herriot declined to extend the leased ground where the Braeburn were planted. A 25 year commitment to lease ground for an Orchard is a long time to see into the future, regardless it left me and ultimately you my customers with out a beloved Apple variety untill the lost trees could be replanted. Just a few apples this season, so get them next weekend while you can, there will be more and more each year as the young trees grow and mature.
The loss of a good neighbor, friend and reliable hand during busy times of the year is sorely missed.
Also still yet to be picked near the end of October: GoldRush, Fuji, Granny Smith, PinkLady, Rome, Enterprise, EverCrisp and SunCrisp. So stay tuned next week!!!