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

The Great Race: Troy

An event called The Great Race will be making a stop in downtown Troy this Sunday, June 24. It's a classic car competition that, this... (more)

Big lift

Here's video from Sunday of the helicopter lifting equipment to the roof of the Corning Tower. It was posted by the state Office of General... (more)

Jason Mraz at The Palace

Pop singer/songwriter Jason Mraz is set to play a show at The Palace November 30. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 22 -- they're... (more)

Morning Blend

Death in Lark Street stabbing case Albany police say one of the men stabbed during the incident near Lark Street and Madison Ave June 7... (more)

The week ahead

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (SUMMER), to filling the... (more)

Recent Comments

Elm St between Eagle and Phillip. Beautiful, colorful, Italianate row houses directly down the hill from the Executive Mansion.

Weekend Destination: Quebec City

...has 2 comments, most recently from Mary M

The week ahead

...has 1 comment, most recently from Chris

Drawing: Tickets for Hidden City House & Garden Tour + gift certificates for El Mariachi Tapas and Capital Wine

...has 64 comments, most recently from Pamela

Eating six donuts at Cider Belly

...has 17 comments, most recently from Patricia

Talking about streescape upgrades along New Scotland Ave in the Helderberg neighborhood

...has 7 comments, most recently from BS