South Hill Cider and Other Cider Makers Look to Wild Apples
In a recent feature published by Civil Eats, Steve Selin, founder of South Hill Cider (Ithaca, NY) discussed the unique qualities that wild apples lend to the cider making process. The cider maker regularly forages for wild apples in the Finger Lakes region, and grafts his favorite varieties to the apple trees in his orchard.
“Wild apples have a character that is impossible to simulate,” Selin said. “Like the difference between picking wild mushrooms and growing cultivated mushrooms. And the trees grow in the wild; they are generally very slow-growing and quite old. These two characteristics are known in the wine world to create more concentrated wine. I also find that is the case with apples.”
Many researchers and growers believe cultivating wild apples will help cider makers incorporate more diversity into their orchards and grow fruit to stand up to the looming threats of global warming and the range of diseases and pests that climate change will bring to their growing regions.