Cider Fact

"Fine fruit...is the most perfect union of the useful and the beautiful that the earth knows."

A.J. Downing, The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America. 1865

Graniwinkle contributes a rich syrupy juice to First Fruit Cider.

Our Apples

The Blue Ridge mountains have long produced fine apples. Queen Victoria so prized Newtown Pippins from Bent Mountain and central Virginia that she removed the export tax from this spicy aromatic apple. The orchards at Foggy Ridge Cider continue this tradition of well grown apples, carefully selected for flavor and hardiness.

Quality cider begins with quality cider apples. Foggy Ridge Cider blends heirloom American apples like Harrison, Graniwinkle and Roxbury Russett with traditional English and French cider apples to create cider with uncommon depth and balance.

Cidermaker and apple grower Diane Flynt continues to experiment in the orchard. See the Foggy Ridge Orchard Notebook for detailed bloom and harvest records. Every apple plays a role–the striped red cherry-sized Virginia Hewe's Crab contributes sugar and texture to Foggy Ridge's First Fruit blend. The English cider apples Dabinett and Tremlett's Bitter balance Sweet Stayman with acidity. So bitter it is called a "spitter", Muscadet de Berney adds tannin to Serious Cider. Cox's Orange Pippin adds aromatics to all our ciders.

PDF Diane's Foggy Ridge Orchard Notebook


Cox's Orange Pippin

Raised in England by Richard Cox, a retired brewer, at Colnbrook near Slough around 1830 and highly prized as a dessert apple. The orange skin gains red strips and russetting as it ripens. This apple is so fragrant you can catch its scent on a breeze from inside a pickup truck.
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Dabinett

A full bittersweet but with soft astringency and a full body, this high tannin cider apple comes from Somerset England, a reknown cider producing region. William Dabinett found this apple as a seedling in a hedge in Middle Lambrook–proof that "apple rustling" is a valuable pastime.
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Graniwinkle

Described in 1817 as producing cider that "resembles a sirup in its taste and consistency". This dark red apple with lovely brown shoulders ripens early and was traditionally blended with juice from the Harrison apple for making "superior" cider.
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Harrison

Once lost to cultivation, Tom Burford found a 75 year old Harrison tree in 1989 and returned this valuable cider apple to the trade. Harrison juice is viscous and dark with complex flavors. We wish we had an orchard full of Harrisons.
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Muscadet de Berney

So tannin it is known as a "spitter," this French variety has long been grown in England for blending with sharp and sweet apples. Muscadet de Berney trees reach straight for the sky and are impossible to train into a more productive shape. A frustrating but valuable apple.
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Roxbury Russett

The oldest named American apple, originating in Roxbury, MA in the early 1600s. Mountain grown Roxbury Russetts are excellent keepers. The dusky green skin is flushed with a rough yellowish brown russet. The greenish white flesh has a unique spicy flavor that surprises those of us reared on the ubiquitous Grocery Store Five.
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Virginia Hewe's Crab

The most celebrated southern cider apple, enjoyed by George Washington and grown in Thomas Jefferson's North Orchard. The small light green apples are striped red when ripe. The soft yellow flesh yields an intensely flavored syrupy juice. These small apples cover the trees and prompt curses from pickers at harvest time.
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Tremlett's Bitter

A full bittersweet with hard and bitter tannin, this cider apple from Devon England is difficult to grow (derisively called a "pig of an apple") but adds valuable qualities to cider blends.
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