credit Margaret Moebius
by Sheila Buff
| credit Margaret Moebius
In colonial times, every good housewife knew how to make cider. Back then, in the days before refrigeration, cider didn’t mean sweet, fresh juice from apples—it meant apple juice that had been allowed to ferment in a wooden barrel until it became cider, a beverage with a low alcohol content (usually around 5 percent). In the Hudson Valley, where apple orchards have been a part of the landscape since the late 1600s, cider was an important product for apple growers well into the 1800s. The growth of urban areas and an influx of beer-loving European immigrants reduced demand for cider over the years, and farm distilleries in the Hudson Valley gradually faded from the scene. Some continued to produce cider, but Prohibition put an end to legal production in 1920. Growers tore out their cider apple trees and planted apple varieties meant for eating and cooking instead. After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the demand for cider was still low; burdensome regulations limited farm distilling, and the growers had moved away from cider and cider apples. Cider production languished.
In recent years, however, commercial cider production has made a vigorous return to the Hudson Valley. The resurgence was sparked by the happy confluence of changes in New York State’s antiquated alcohol laws and the eagerness of forward-looking apple growers seeking new ways to add value to a crop that faces increasing competition from imported eating apples. That combination has received a major assist from consumers, who are increasingly interested in searching out unusual and locally made products, and from the owners of wine shops and liquor stores who are always interested in bringing new products to the attention of their customers. Add in some help from the nonprofit sector, and you have a serious comeback in the production of cider and apple spirits in the Hudson Valley.
A number of excellent ciders and apple-based spirits are now being made in the mid-Hudson Valley on the east side of the river. In Columbia County, Harvest Spirits in Valatie makes distilled spirits from the apples and other fruit grown at Harvest Orchards. The distillery’s flagship product is Core Vodka, made from apples; other products include Peach Applejack and Hudson Valley Apple Brandy. The products are available at the distillery tasting room and at a number of wine and spirits shops in the area. 518-523-5917; www.harvestspirits.com
In Red Hook, Annandale Cidery, part of Montgomery Place Orchards, has been making Annandale Atomic Cider since 1999. The historic orchards at Montgomery Place still grow many old-fashioned cider varieties, so Atomic Cider has a lot of apples to choose from when making the juice blend. In cider as in wine, every batch every year is slightly different, depending on the varieties used, how the growing season went, and what happens during the natural fermentation process. The cider can be bought at the Montgomery Place farm stand at the intersection of routes 199 and 9G. 845-758-6338; www.mporchards.com
Breezy Hill Orchard in Staatsburg is well known locally for its excellent eating apples, sold primarily at farmers’ markets and at greenmarkets in New York City. Owner Elizabeth Ryan currently makes Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider, a flavorful French-style cider that must be refrigerated and stays fresh for only a few weeks. Going forward, additional ciders are planned. As the orchard is not currently open to the public, the most reliable place to purchase the cider is at Stone Ridge Orchard in Ulster County. 845-266-3979; www.hudsonvalleycider.com.
Cider Week 2013 in the Hudson Valley
Cider Week, held annually in mid-October (and this year from October 18 through 27) is a project originated by Glynwood, a nonprofit organization based in Cold Spring dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture in the region. Now in its third year, Cider Week is an ongoing and increasingly popular effort to educate the public about America’s oldest drink. Cider Week offers tastings, meals with cider pairings, presentations, and a lot of other fun events, both in New York City and at a growing number of Hudson Valley restaurants and wine and spirits shops. It’s all part of Glynwood’s Apple Project, which seeks to preserve apple orchards in the Hudson Valley by promoting the production of hard cider and apple spirits and working to create markets for these products. As of my deadline, specific events were still in the planning stage; for up-to-the-minute information about these check www.ciderweekny.com. And for more information about Glynwood and the innovative work of the Apple Project, check out www.glynwood.org.
Sheila Buff is a freelance writer living in Milan. She is the author of the Food Lovers’ Guide to the Hudson Valley, published this year by Globe Pequot Press.
Dutchess/Columbia Community Businesses
This year's 25th Annual Bard Music Festival Program presents the great Viennese classical composer who died too young: Franz Schubert. Come to two August weekends of concerts, talks and panel discussions. Programs include a semi-staged performance of the Schubert opera Fierabras; three programs devoted to Lieder, including Winterreise; operettas by Schubert and by Franz von Suppé about Schubert; programs of chamber, orchestral, and choral works along with many less famliar works, as well as works by such contemporaries and successors as Beethoven, Rossini, Gluck, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Bruckner and others. Weekend One: "The Making of a Romantic Legend"; Weekend Two: "A New Aesthetics of Music." All this is part of Bard's arts extravaganza, SummerScape. Schubert and His World Festival events August 8–10 and August 15–17 at Bard's Fisher Center & Olin Hall.
Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
Bard College, Annandale
The Red Devon's menu celebrates local food with the best that Hudson Valley farms have to offer. Enjoy breakfast and lunch in the market café or on the porch, dinner in the bar, restaurant or on the terrace. The weekly specials honor the seasons with inspired creations from the chef, but you can always find your local favorites as well! Red Devon supports local farmers, heritage breeds and artisanal producers.
108 Hunns Lake Rd., Stanfordville
An architectural firm founded in 1971 with offices in Dutchess County and New York City, providing contemporary, award-winning site-specific residential designs: new houses, additions, renovations and interiors. See our website and/or call for brochure.
116 West 72 St.
16th floor, New York
Ann Lombardozzi C.P.E. and daughter Michelle Lombardozzi-Strollo have over 30 years combined experience. Computerized equipment thermyolosis, electrolysis and blend methods. Disposable needles used. Gender friendly. CDC sterilization methods. Electrolysis—the only method of permanent hair removal.
22 E. Market St., #201, Rhinebeck
I travel to your home to provide personalized service for your family pets: food, fresh water, clean cat litter, dog walks, and some love & attention. Kennel Pick-up/Drop-off service. Bonded, insured, references. Serving Rhinebeck and surrounding areas.
This year has been a promising year for real estate with serious buyers looking for homes again. Whether you are buying or selling a home, let me put my 13+ years expertise to work for you! Together we can make it happen. Call me for a complementary market analysis.
Northern Dutchess Realty
6423 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck
Tradition, pride, experience, and the finest ingredients combine to bring the best of old Mexico to your table. Our menu is packed with classic Mexican dishes we create from scratch. From delicious appetizers to tasty salads, inspired entrees to decadent desserts, your meal will be one of a kind. Don't forget to order a Margarita at the bar or with your dinner. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to offer suggestions or answer questions. We hope you walk in a stranger and leave a friend. Gracias Amigos!
7483 S. Broadway, Red Hook
June 21: Equine art show and auction of works by Dino Rinaldi to benefit Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue. Food, crafts, horse demos, exhibits, & children's activities, music and more.
147 Main St, Kingston
Vicki L. Haak, CFP®, Financial Advisor, Personal financial planning, including planning for risk protection, taxes, retirement, estate preservation investments and asset allocation.
30 E. Market St., Rhinebeck
Rachel Collet Photography provides wedding, portrait, event, and fine art photography services. Rachel and her staff pride themselves on creating contemporary and timeless images that capture your personality and your occasion. Also ask about our elegant photo booths for parties and celebrations of all kinds.
Located in Rhinebeck, Hill offers full service brokerage based on a tradition of listing and selling fine homes, farms and land in No. Dutchess and So. Columbia Counties for over 15 years.
6808 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck
Health Quest Urgent Care offers WALK-IN URGENT CARE at two locations for a variety of illnesses with no appointment necessary. Pediatric and adult care. X-Ray onsite. Visit website below for information.
Lagrangeville: 1100 Route 55, 845-454-4455
Hours: Mon–Fri 8am–8pm; wknds 8am–2pm.
Wappingers Falls: 1530 Route 9, 845-297-2511
Hours: 7 days 8am–10pm.
Live, quality music for all occasions: Jazz, dinner & cocktail music for weddings & corporate events. "The music was excellent; a wonderful time was had by all and the music contributed so much to the atmosphere of the event." —Dutchess County Arts Council. Sample available on CD or online. See also under "Music Instruction.
Lessons for adults & children. Professional musicians welcome. Piano for beginners through advanced jazz improvisation for students of all instruments & voice. Music reading, composition, theory & harmony. See also under "Wedding Services."
Beadzo offers a wonderful selection of creative, artistic and ethnic jewelry from around the world as well as from our local artists and beaders. Necklaces, bracelets and earrings made from vintage, collectible and contemporary beads and metals are available. Semi-precious stones, pearls and lamp work beads have been made into unique creations and make special gifts. Silk scarves from Thailand and artistic hand knitted scarves can be found there as well. Folk art masks, clocks, earring holders and lively hand-painted wooden chests and jewelry boxes are also added to the mix. It’s all very whimsical, fun and full of spirit!
60 Broadway, Tivoli