Friday, October 26, 2007

How about them apples (and pears)?

In the October issue of Hudson Valley Connoisseur magazine, Jessica Bard has a great article on hard apple cider – the magical drink you get when you let apple juice ferment into alcohol. She included a nice guide to local sources that produce exceptional hard cider on a regular basis such as Warwick Valley Winery in Orange County and Hilltop Orchards & Furnace Brook Winery in Richmond, Massachusetts (near Lenox.) As far as I am concerned, a well-made hard cider ranks right up there with good sparkling wines made from grapes.

I also am a big fan of hard pear cider (perry) and was heartbroken when Elizabeth Ryan’s cider mill at Breezy Hill Farm in Staatsburg burned a few years ago. Elizabeth produced an exceptional perry. Thankfully I discovered that the Warwick Valley Winery Doc’s Draft Hard Pear Cider is also delicious. In her article, Jessica shared the news that Breezy Hill may resume cider production soon, and that Montgomery Place Orchards might be producing some hard cider on a limited basis.

Last Saturday I headed out for some shopping at the Montgomery Place farm stand on Route 9G in Red Hook near Bard College. What a crowd when we got there! Granted, the farm’s produce is outstanding but still I have never seen the place with both parking lots filled, and cars parked across the road. Turns out they were having an apple pie contest. It was much too busy for me to ask farmer Thalia Finke which apple varieties made up the winning pie, but I’ll have to follow up on that. (I picked up some Northern Spy for my own pie and some nice Empires for eating fresh, because they didn’t have any of my new fave -- Honeycrisp -- on hand.)

And they did have hard apple cider, packaged in cute pint canning jars! But as I got there, they were out of the jars. The staff assured me they would be making more. Can’t wait!

No comments: