Hertiage or Old Varietals Used for making Hard Cider

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Hertiage or Old Varietals Used for making Hard Cider

Post by SargieAZ » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:30 pm

Does anyone have any information on these heritage or old varieties that would make good hard cider? I am finding a lot of of apples that have had their good cider characteristics- tannins, acid,etc. bred out.

I am on the hunt for any information at all about these types of varieties, or any growers that are practicing bio-dynamic/organic practices.
I love cider!

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Post by appledude » Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:41 pm

There are many cider apples that are just that -- cider apples. No, their cider characters have not been bred out, or they would not be going by the name of Kingston Black, Foxwelp, Dabbinett, Yalington Mill, Nehoe and other bittersweets & bittersharps.

Diversity is key, with the more kinds the better. Figure on up to 1/2 of your cider being of the bittersweet kind, my friend tells me.

If you can get scions of this and that mailed to you, it would be rather simple to graft up a whole swack of cider apple trees this spring. Find some rootstock for sale and away you go. No reason to wait! Graft everything now, then do your research to see what you want to weed out. At least this time next year or 2011 you won't be wishing that you had done something earlier, and your trees will be one or two years old by then.

Good luck. Hard cider is delicious!

Yes, champagne does grow on trees!

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Post by sandra » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:30 am

SargieAZ -
There are plenty of orchards that specialize in those self-same cider (heirloom) apples enjoyed by our Founding Fathers.

Here are a couple of notables:
- Cummins Nursery
- Farnum Hill, in conjunction with Poverty Lane Orchards

You might want to thoroughly peruse All About Apple's own copious orchard listings to determine whether there is heirloom growing region closer to your own location.

Best luck :)

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Check before you pick

Post by JessIAm » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:51 pm


I'm also looking for cider apples. I found an orchard here in Oregon that boasts 205 varieties of apples, including heirloom. When I called, the did not have any Kingston Black. I guess heirloom apples don't necessarily include cider apples.



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Re: Hertiage or Old Varietals Used for making Hard Cider

Post by DuckyDave » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:57 pm

I see this is rather old. In case you have not run across them before this, I can recommend by happy experience Raintree Nursery, located in SW Washington state. I bought three heritage cultivars (Ashmead's Kernel, Kingston Black apple and English Morello pie cherry) and two newer (Queen Cox and Liberty apple). Three of the four I bought and planted spring of '07 have grown so well I hope to have a first crop this year.
The Kingston Black was bought and planted spring of '08. Its first year here was rather rough and it grew much better last year. I hope for a first crop from it in '11. Obviously, there will not be enough apples to make cider with it alone, but I intend to introduce a cider maker to this apple and see what we can work out.
Raintree Nursery has an excellent website; they are careful to let you know the strengths and even some of the weaknesses of a given cultivar. I find their prices reasonable, and their choices of rootstock are tailored to yield trees that fit nicely in home orchards.
Next year it is just possible I will buy a Red Belle de Boskoop that tops out at only 8 feet for one corner of my yard.
Your forum asked about cider trees: Raintree has Foxwhelp, Harry Master's Jersey and Kingston Black listed in their current catalog. In years past they have also listed Dabinette. I might add that they carry Greensleeves, a juicy apple lacking in tannins but fairly high in sugar and acid that some people use in brewing cider. Looks as though it ripens about three weeks before Kingston and Foxwhelp and at least two weeks before Harry Masters.
Have fun!

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Re: Hertiage or Old Varietals Used for making Hard Cider

Post by appledude » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:02 am

Hi DuckyDave,

I also consider Raintree to be reputable. They have always sold me very good stuff. The only beef I would have with them is the their Foxwhelp probably isn't the real Foxwhelp. What we call Foxwhelp in the USA is likely the rootstock that the Foxwhelp from England came on. Scion died and rootstock took over and nobody noticed until it was widespread.

I would like to get a bit of the true blue deal from the UK, but might have to wait.

Another really good stand-alone cider tree is Gold Rush. Good winter keeper too if you can keep it from losing moisture. It not being a large tree, if you could find it on Bud9, M9, or even M26 it would suit your needs perfectly. I love this apple. Sweet yet sprightly. Plenty of dissolved solids.

If you'd like a quinine experience, bite into a Harry Masters Jersey sometime before it comes ripe. You won't forget it! Bitter as the dickens!

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Re: Hertiage or Old Varietals Used for making Hard Cider

Post by JessIAm » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:32 pm

These suggestions are great, and I really appreciate them :)

I currently live in an appartment, so growing these trees would be problematic (at best lol).

Does anyone know of a place in the Portland Oregon or Salem Oregon area to get these apples or juice from these apples?

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Location: Washington State

Re: Hertiage or Old Varietals Used for making Hard Cider

Post by calindy » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:41 pm

I have purchased cider apples from two nursies here in Washington State, Raintree (http://www.raintreenursery.com/) and Burnt Ridge (http://www.burntridgenursery.com/). Raintree also offers several cider pear varieties. I now am looknig forward to my third pressing and cider making adventure. Last year my wife and I also tried making a apple/pear blend that is reasonably good. I have added a number of photos of my new press (a small 12 ton/bottle jack-powered hydraulic press at my flickr photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31423823@N08/
I would like to trade experiences with other cider makers, espcially those in the Pacific Northwest region of the US and Canada. Drop me a note at: cal1advise@aol.com

There are a number of very informative reports available concerning cider making from Washington State University at: http://maritimefruit.wsu.edu/Cider.html

Andrew Lea has a very helpful website at: http://www.cider.org.uk/content2.htm

I would also like to add the bibliographies of a small number of books about apples and cider making that you may find interesting:
1. Juniper, Barrie, and David Mabberley (2006). The Story of the Apple. Timber Press (www.Timberpress.com), Portland, OR. A well presented book concerning the history of the apple, its distribution, etc. Written by two plant scientists (Oxford U. & U. of Washington). About half of one of the seven chapters addresses cider and cider making. 219 pp.
2. Lea, Andrew (2008). Craft Cider Making. The Good Life Press (to order in US, email: custserv@motorbooks.com ). Preston, UK. A well written, easy to follow, book about cider making by one of the best known cider experts in the UK. Andrew recently retired from Britain’s Long Ashton Research Station (the UK’s National Fruit & Cider Institute). He has also been making cider for over 20 years, winning a number of national and international cider competitions. 160 pp. NOTE: Andrew Lea is a major force behind the Cider Digest.
3. Morgan, Joan and Alison Richards with illustrations by Elisabeth Dowle (1993). The New Book of Apples. Random House (www.randomhouse.co.uk). Jane is Vice chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit & Vegetable Committee and Alison is a former BBC journalist while illustrator Elisabeth has won numerous awards for painting apples. About half of this book explores the apples and its many uses, including a chapter on cider. The other half is a directory of apples presenting a long list of both sweet and cider apples. For each apple information such as; the world’s (103 pages) better known apples its origination, and additional information such as; a description of the physical fruit, its flavor, and data on the tree’s flower, hardiness, when to pick and how well it keeps. This directory includes a sub-section specifically focused on eighty-six varieties of cider apples. 315 pp.
4. Proulx, Anne and Lew Nichols (2003). Cider: Making Using, & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider, 3rd edition. Story Publishing, North Adams, MA. A very helpful collaboration between Anne (a writer) and Lew (owner/operator of a cidery in Vermont). This book addresses a number of cider related topics; making cider, building your own cider press, cooking with cider, picking the cider apple(s) for the cider taste that you want, and how to plant and care for your own cider apples. 219 pp.
5. Yepson, Roger ( 1994). Apples. W.W. Norton & Company, New York City. In a directory format similar to and with overlap in coverage to that of Morgan and Richards, Roger (an apple farmer and free lance writer/artist) profiles 90 varieties of apples. “Each featured apple is remarkably distinctive in taste, texture, aroma, and appearance.” Plus a water color illustration is provided for each apple. 255 pp.
6. Watson, Ben (2009, 2nd ed.). Cider: Hard & Sweet; History, Traditions, & Making Your Own, 2nd edition. The Countryman Press, Woodstock, VT . This book on cider making, follows several other works relating to gardening and editable plants by this writer and food/farm activist from New Hampshire. Ben takes the reader on a journey through cider making on to helping the novice to make it themselves. One chapter specifically explores the making of pear cider (“Perry”). Also provided are advanced techniques in the last chapter. 179 pp.

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