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
Come to our orchard for the best apple picking! We have Galas, Empires, Red Delicious, Cortlands, Macouns Jonamacs, and more, all clearly marked. Also: apple wood for sale. Enjoy unbeatable views of the Catskills while picking. Just 3 miles from the center of RB (follow 308 to just east of 9G; go north on Pilgrim’s Progress Rd.; veer right onto Cedar Hgts. Rd.; Crosby Ln. is first left.)
8 Crosby Ln., Rhinebeck
Make one stop to shop for all renovation and new construction needs. Homeowners, contractors, architects, and designers are offered a wonderful variety of the newest products on the market. Walls, countertops, vanities, custom cabinetry, and flooring, Corrado’s brand new showroom features it all. Corrado’s also specializes in granite, stone, eco -riendly products and other natural resources. Corrado’s is known for 3 generations of industry artisans, experienced staff and cutting edge design program.
854 Violet Ave., Hyde Park
Since 1976 the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair has been the Number One show in the Hudson Valley and the best-known and favorite antique show on the East Coast! The Rhinebeck Antiques Fair keeps its customers coming back show after show! 200 dealers from all over the USA presenting rare, beautiful, and funky antiques in room-like settings. Expanding to include vintage and decorative arts! "Something for everyone's pocketbook." Free parking, food court, delivery service. INDOORS. Columbus Day Weekend October 11/12. Admission $10, $1 off with display ad. Hours: Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 11am–4pm. Call or write for info:
PO Box 838, Rhinebeck
Family owned & operated serving the Hudson Valley since 1973. We provide quality service & installations to homeowners, contractors, architects & commercial businesses. Let the "only real door company in the valley" exceed your expectations. Full showroom & parts counter. Like us on Facebook!
40 Arlington Ave, Poughkeepsie
Got rot? Home improvements & repairs of all types, painting & staining. Historic restoration specialist. Furniture restoration. Serving the Hudson Valley since 1986. Fully insured.
NDH is a Health Quest Affiliate, offering emergency, medical and surgical services, an award-winning birth center, nationally ranked Bone and Joint Center, Center for Healthy Aging, physical rehabilitation services, medical imaging, a Sleep Disorders Center, and specialty women's services through Women's View, as well as the NDH Breast Care Center and Dyson Center for Women’s Imaging. Log on to our website or “like” us on Facebook to stay up to date on all our latest advances!
6511 Springbrook Avenue, 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.
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
A wondrous world of discovery and imagination. Half day classes offered for two, three and four year olds.
The Chocolate Factory
54 Elizabeth St., Red Hook
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties, formerly Prudential Serls Prime Properties, is the area's leading real estate company for 22 consecutive years: 5 offices, 2 meeting centers, 225+ sales professionals servicing Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Westchester, Ulster & Columbia counties.
6384 Mill St., Rhinebeck
A 185-acre farm in our family since 1916. Come pick plump pumpkins and many varieties of apples, Enjpy your own lunch at an orchard picnic table. then visit our rustic farm stand for a colroful array of fruits and vegetables—all grown right here. Weekends 10am–6pm. Off Rte. 9, four miles north of Red Hook light. More on website.
15 Scism Road, Tivoli
Former Mughal Raj owner is now in Red Hook Curry House Restaurant and Takeout. All your favorites. Traditional Hundi buffet Tuesday & Sunday nights, 5–9:30pm, all you can eat. We have good quality food: 4 stars from Poughkeepsie Journal and Daily Freeman and "Best Indian Restaurant in the October 2005 issue of Hudson Valley magazine. Try our food and we hope you enjoy it.
28 E. Market St, Red Hook
Poison Ivy Patrol is the only company that exclusively removes the notorious Poison Ivy; the one invasive weed that almost everyone is afraid of going near. After 5 years of serving Ulster we are expanding into Dutchess County.
Watercolor classes with Betsy Jacaruso for beginning and advanced painters. Four 3-hour classes on Mon, Wed & Sat, in a relaxed group setting w/focus on basic watercolor techniques while developing and cultivating a personal style. Classes in drawing and pastels also offered w/Keith Gunderson. See also under "Galleries & Studios" and in the calendar under "Classes & Workshops."
The Rhinebeck Courtyard
43 E. Market St., Suite 2, Rhinebeck
Collaborative, strength-based psychological services. Services offered include family, couples, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy, women’s groups, and clinical supervision. Approved Supervisor, AAMFT.
6402 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck