Our orchard planning begins by selecting apple trees that yield apples that both satisfy our apple loving guests as well as our cider making. From planting to picking, we manage our orchard with careful consideration of our New York State location and climate. Since we have added a cider-making facility to the farm, our orchard has grown to include trees that produce cider specific apples that support the fermentation process of our hard ciders.
We Grow the Ingredients for Our Hard Ciders in Our Orchard and on the Farm
Apple Varieties We Grow for Picking, Eating, Cooking and Pressing
Jonagold • Golden Delicious • JonaMac • Cortland • Empire • Macoun • Crispin • Ginger Gold • Fuji • Pristine • Zestar • Evercrisp • Stayman Winesap • Northern Spy • Gold Rush • Ida Red • Red Delicious • Braeburn • Honey Crisp • Pink Lady • Golden Russet • Ashmead’s Kernel • Crimson Crisp • Sweet Zinger • Suncrisp • Keepsake • Rhode Island Greening • Gravenstein
Hard Cider Specific Apples
Porters Perfection • Brown Snout • Chisel Jersey • Dabinett • Calville Blanc • Harry Master’s Jersey • Foxwhelp • Yarlington Mill • Roxbury Russet • Newtown Pippin • Hudsons Golden Gem • Harrison • Cox Orange Pippin • Wickson’s Crab • Pennings’ Wild Crab
How We Preserve the Signature Crops in Our Orchard
We often use the phrase, “Getting back to our roots,” when referring to how we continue to farm our land to produce signature crops like our apples. When we want to preserve the special nuance of a single variety of an apple, it’s not coming from the roots or the seeds from a particular tree, but a small branch or off-shoot is literally notched into the rootstock, the original tree, with a nursery tape. Seems so simple!
Grafting is a process in which an apple branch “shoot” from one tree is fused together with the rootstock of an older tree. The fruit genetics will carry from the cutting into the future tree it becomes. This practice allows us to bring in desired apple varieties and utilize the trees already in the ground to grow rather than ripping out trees, burning, and replanting new trees from a nursery. At the Cidery Orchard, we have grafted many cider and crab apple varieties such as Porters Perfection and Penning’s Wild Apple to the rootstock of dessert apple varieties that have fallen out of favor such as the Red Delicious. The Continental, the first cider of our Wild Series, came from apples out of a wild apple tree we found on the farm. We loved the cider so much we took shoots from the crab tree and grafted it onto some old Braeburn Rootstock.
Protecting The Apples
Once our trees are planted or grafted, they need a lot of care. We follow integrated pest management which utilizes all resources for keeping away pests. This allows us to only spray insecticides of fungicides when necessary and allows us to just hit the target pest rather than also the native species of insects that help with pollination or even are natural predators of the target pest! Bat boxes will be a new addition to the farm to encourage more bat nighttime hunting of insect pests. Lastly, our hopyard trellis system at the top of the farm doubles its duty and acts as raptor poles. The raptors hunt the mice, voles, and woodchucks that can do damage to apple trees.
Other Farm Grown Ingredients Used in Our Hard Ciders
We are very proud to be an orchard-based cidery as we believe homegrown apples make a superior product. We also love to include some of our other crops into our hard ciders including our yellow and white peaches, nectarines, pumpkins and hops! We even use honey from the beekeeper who manages the pollination at our farm, Sweet Things and Wild Thyme Honey. You’ll find these hyper-local ingredients in our Peach Fuzz, Peach Cobbler, Pumpkin, Cysers, Honey Hopped Ciders, as well as on our brick oven pizzas and in many of our Farm to Table dishes at the Pennings Farm Grill. You will also find other farm-grown ingredients on the menu and sold in the Farm Market, including sweet corn, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers.
Our Hop Yard: New York State Hops
Nestled just above the apple orchard is our hop yard. As a part of the New York State hop revival, the Pennings Farm hop yard was within the first 50 acres of farmland dedicated to growing hops. Now the state boasts more than 500 acres of these aroma-filled hop bines!
Five Hop Varieties
Our five hop varieties include Brewer’s Gold, Cascade, Mt. Hood, Nugget and Willamette. We focus on quality aromatic hops that we grow for regional brewers and for use in our farm-produced hard ciders, made and served at the Cidery and in our Pub and Beer Gardens.
Look for our hops in many locally crafted beers and hard ciders:
• Pennings Farm Cidery Honey Hopped hard cider.
• Glenmere Brewing: Wild Thyme Farmhouse and Pennings Brown Ale
• Butternuts Beer & Ale: Pennings Hop Punch IPA, Pennings White IPA and Pennings Hopyard IPL (now available in cans)
• Doc’s Draft Dry Hopped Cider