Cider Week(s): Relishing Fall with the Humble Apple
by Kate Anstreicher, Program Manager
For many farmers, the autumn equinox signals a wind-down of sorts. Fewer hours of daylight means more time is spent storing roots, prepping beds and barns for the winter, and looking at crop planning spreadsheets, and far less time is dedicated to the classic summer stressors of harvesting, rotating pastures, weeding, and managing pests. But for apple growers, the fall season is the busiest of the year. Especially during a bumper crop such as this year’s, apple growers and cider makers are working nonstop from August through October or even November. Whether getting fruit off the trees and into storage, pressing apples for cider (both fresh, sweet cider and its fermented, alcoholic counterpart), welcoming droves of apple pickers on the weekends, or monitoring the forecast for potential frosts, growers lean into the demanding months with the understanding that the literal fruits of their labor will be enjoyed well into the following year.
Glynwood was lucky enough to celebrate this year’s apple harvest alongside many of our cider colleagues. Cider Week New York (organized by the New York Cider Association) took place from October 2-17, offering in-person tastings, orchard tours, special cider dinners, and a host of virtual, cider-themed events. Near the beginning of Cider Week festivities, Senior Director of Regional Food Programs Megan Larmer moderated a panel discussion entitled Building a Regional Taste, Trade and Identity: International Case Study on Cider. Including cider experts from the UK, Japan and the US, the event generated a lively discourse about the roadblocks and opportunities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, agritourism, and the seasonal dichotomy between peak cider production and consumption. Although Glynwood’s agricultural focus largely remains within state borders, the current understanding of cider production and culture in New York has come largely from other regions and countries with older traditions of the craft. Comparing and contrasting the experiences of these international panelists led to exciting consideration of future, global collaborations.
Cider Week NY also provided an opportunity for Glynwood staff to visit several cider partners in the Hudson Valley and in the Finger Lakes. While tasting cider apples straight off of the tree and sipping new vintages in the taproom, staff connected with consumers about their journey into cider culture; listened to the concerns of apple growers in a changing climate; and identified common needs and aspirations of cider makers in our state. It was incredible to see just how popular these Cider Week events were—in no small part due to delicious food and drink, beautiful outdoor venues, and safe COVID precautions—and how many people went home with bottles of cider in tow.
In a fun celebration of Glynwood’s own bumper crop of apples this season, staff harvested apples, crabapples and quince and delivered the fruit to friends at Metal House Cider for a special Glynwood cider. The project will yield a very small amount of cider, and given that the apple varieties in the orchard are not ideal for cider, the jury's out on how it will taste. Regardless, a wonderful time was had by all putting the project together and look forward to popping the cork among our staff.
Although Cider Week New York has passed, it is not too late to visit an orchard or cidery this fall and revel in the bounty of fruit this season brings. And don’t forget to mark your calendars: this year’s bumper crop will be ready to drink in early to mid-2022. We can hardly wait.
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