Cider apple cultivars

The question of what constitutes a ‘cider apple’ often comes up in conversations among cideries, growers, and consumers. The simplest definition for a cider apple is an apple that goes into cider. However, that definition masks the interests in diversifying the apples cultivars grown for cider making.

The vast majority of apples used in cider in the U.S. are second-grade fruit from dessert cultivar orchards. In the northeast, it is common for the dominant cultivars ‘McIntosh’, ‘Empire’, ‘Cortland’, and similar …

The economics of growing cider apples

The profitable production of cider apples requires an understanding of production costs, expected yields, and realistic price expectations for cider fruit. Two scenarios can substantially affect the underlying economics of growing cider apples: growing apples for making cider within the same or an affiliated business, versus growing cider apples for sale to a separate cidery.

For growers who seek to supply fruit for their own cidermaking, the returns from that fruit must be considered in the overall context of operating …

What are cider apples?

The intentional production of cider apples differs from the tradition of diverting lower-grade fruit of dessert cultivars, e.g., ‘McIntosh’, ‘Empire’, ‘Honeycrisp’, etc., from fresh markets to an on-farm or third-party cider mill. For the purposes of this guide, “cider apples” refers to apples intentionally grown for the purpose of making cider. Likewise, “cider” in this case refers to fermented, alcoholic apple juice and products made from it. While the majority of juice that is made into cider in New England …