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
Great selection and discounts on a world of art materials & studio supplies. Find office products, cards, novelty gifts, and award-winning custom picture frame shop and full-service copy shop (with graphics) in all three stores. Hours vary among the 3 stores in Woodstock, Kingston & Poughkeepsie.
328 Wall St., Kingston, NY 12401, 845-331-7780 /
807 Main St., Poughkeepsie, NY, 12603, 845-452-1250 /
35 Mill Hill Rd., Woodstock, NY 12498, 845-679-2251
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
"Destination Restaurant" by Culinary Institute of America. Four and 1/2 stars from the Poughkeepsie Journal & "Best Sushi in the Hudson Valley" from Zagat's. Also: voted "Best sushi of the Hudson Valley 2014" Hudson Valley magazine.Tucked in the heart of Rhinebeck, Osaka has been the go-to-sushi restaurant for 19 years. Chefs work in rhythm to craft sushi, sashimi, and rolls from a vividly bright palette of salmon, tuna, yellowtail, squid, uni, and other varieties of fish. For diners looking to take a break from the raw dishes, Osaka serves a variety of tempura, teriyaki, hibachi, and noodle bowl dinners. Eat-in or take-out.
22 Garden St.
Celebrating its 18th year as one of the premier art dealers and venues in the Hudson Valley, the gallery focuses on quality original contemporary, regional, 20th-c. and Hudson River Art, and offers changing exhibitions, a holdings gallery, curatorial, consultation, commissioning, art delivery and installation services. The gallery has established an outstanding reputation for its dedicated service to both clients and artists. Spring programs include solo exhibitions by David Eddy and Polly W. Law, and the annual Collectors Salon & Sale.
22 E. Market St., 3rd floor, Rhinebeck
Offering on-site service for home and small business PCs and Macs in northern Dutchess and southern Columbia area. Services include installation, upgrade and repair of hardware and software. Instruction in Windows, Mac OSX, Internet and application software.
Local ~ Organic ~ Delicious ~ Delivered: Fresh, organic meals prepared and delivered for daily, weekly or weekend customers in the Rhinebeck aeea. Pies and breads and scrumptious desserts. Special dietary needs accommodated. Gluten-free upon request. 24-hour notice required. Nancy Southard, owner.
PO Box 320, Rhinecliff
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.
Founded in 1975, Oblong Books & Music is the largest independent bookseller in the mid-Hudson Valley. With a vibrant children's book & toy section, a large bargain books selection, and a knowledgeable staff, Oblong is sure to have something for everyone. Open daily. Author events calendar at oblongbooks.com.
Rhinebeck: 6422 Montgomery Street
Millerton: 26 Main Street
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
STAMP COLLECTIONS WANTED!! Serious stamp collector looking to purchase: single stamps, collections and old envelopes. Will travel.
62 Daisy Ln., Montgomery
Furniture restoration, and repairs. Chair caning and seat weaving. Established in 1986. Fully insured. See also under “Carpentry & Custom Woodworking.”
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
When it's time for a break from the ordinary! Serving breakfast, lunch & grab & go prepared meals. We thrive to provide high quality food & catering with attention to detail & eye appealing presentation. Espresso and cappuccino drinks. See also, under "Caterers."
One E. Market St., Red Hook
Haldora’s own clothing designs sold exclusively at Haldora or Haldora.com. Handsewn in upstate New York. Quality, style, comfort that travels the globe well. Also jeans, bras, panties, hair accessories and jewelry.
28 East Market St. , Rhinebeck
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