Rare spitters

apples_of_new_york_illustrations.jpgOver at Reuters there's an interesting article on a nationwide shortage of bittersweet, bittersharp, and sharp apples that have traditionally been used to make complex hard ciders. These so-called "spitter" apples are in demand because of the cider boom -- but there's a tiny supply because the apple varieties (many are heirlooms) fell out of favor over the last century or so:

One reason for the apple shortage is historical. During Prohibition in the 1920s, trees known to bear hard cider apples became targets of axe-wielding FBI agents.
Popular bittersharp varieties include Kingston Black, Foxwhelp and Golden Russet. These are not dessert or eating apples such as Granny Smith.
Planting new orchards is a big commitment. An apple tree is a 25- to 30-year investment and it takes anywhere from three to six years before it becomes productive.
Greg Peck, assistant professor of horticulture at Virginia Tech University, said there are no figures for how many so-called spitters - apples too tart or bitter to eat fresh but perfect for cider making - are available currently.
In 2012, the total U.S. crop of apples was 216 million bushels, of which 1.7 million were used to make cider. Of that, Peck estimated, "only a handful" of those were bittersweet, bittersharp or sharp varieties.

While the article doesn't mention New York specifically, it indirectly points to another possible Empire State advantage for cider: orchards around here do seem to grow some unusual varieties. (We've picked Golden Russets at Samascott in Kinderhook.)

Earlier on AOA:
+ Lost and found apples
+ More fizz for the cider business in New York

Illustration from The Apples of New York State of New York Department of Agriculture (1903)

Comments

Heh. The guy's name is Peck. That's too perfect.

I live on a former commercial orchard, founded in the 1730's. We have heirloom varieties perfect for cider (and lots of seckel pears, also great for cider!), but I need someone to come pick them, as I just don't have the time. HEY CIDER MAKERS!! You hear that? I've got Ben Davis and others just waiting for you, come 'n get 'em! If you can pick them, they are yours. I've even got a 1800's press and grinder that you can use.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of summer

It turns out bumble bees love cosmos. Which it totally understandable.... (more)

It's outdoor movie season

Well, presumably, all of summer should probably be considered outdoor movie season, but for whatever reason movie-outside events tend to happen in greater numbers around... (more)

There's a second rail trail mural in progress, and an open call for artists for a third

The second Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail mural is in progress under the Cherry Ave Bridge. John DeMarco of Washingtonville has been selected to create a... (more)

Step away from the edge

Come for the beautiful drone video of Kaaterskill Falls in this NYT article, stay for its look at safety around the site and others like... (more)

What's up in the Neighborhood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: hoax or hope, TV, Willett Rock, the attempted abduction of Philip... (more)

Recent Comments

Who would have thought that the way to finally get Exit 3 made after 30+ years was to just name it 'Exit 4 II: The Other Exit 4'.

Here's the proposed design for the Albany Skyway

...has 14 comments, most recently from BS

Morning Blend for Aug 15

...has 3 comments, most recently from Sean

The Albany airport's getting terminal upgrades, a new parking garage, and a new connector road from Exit 4

...has 18 comments, most recently from Mike

Debbie's Kitchen is returning (with Debbie)

...has 7 comments, most recently from MM

Follow up: Delaware Supply

...has 4 comments, most recently from Dave