Good Fruit Grower

August 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 36 of 55

Cider apples in France are grown on tall, vigorous trees, and apples are picked up by machine from the ground in the fall. This is Maurice Levier, Le Perche, who makes Calvados brandy from hard cider. Photo by tim Dressel The French Connection t least a dozen orchardists along the Hudson River from New York City north to Albany are developing cideries— the apple cider equivalent of grape wineries. They've developed the Hudson Valley Cider Alliance, are putting together a hard cider trail, and in the fall they celebrate Cider Week. It's October 18-27 this year. Helping to make all this possible is Colette Rossant, a woman born in Paris in 1932 and raised in Egypt during World War II. In 1955, she married American architect James Rossant, and they established residences in both New York and in the Normandy area of France known for its hard apple cider. Colette Rossant, who enjoyed a long career as a French teacher, writer, journalist, and restaurateur, is still writing cookbooks and now lives in France. Some years ago, she saw that apple orchardists in the Hudson Valley were going out of business, selling their land to developers, while orchardists in France seemed to be doing very well, and she thought it had a lot to do with better utilization and increased value of apples through hard cider. Two years ago, she took her idea to Glynwood, a nonprofit organization in Cold Spring, New York, founded in 1929 to foster rural conservation—that is, preserving farming in the Hudson River Valley. At Glynwood, vice president of programming Sara Grady was put in charge of The Apple Project, the stated goal of which is to "preserve apple orchards in the Hudson Valley by promoting the production of hard cider and apple spirits." Cooperation Hudson Valley orchardists and cider makers traveled to France to see how hard cider is made and sold; their French counterparts visited New York to learn about direct marketing. Three parts of the program now are creating the Hudson Valley Cider Route; sponsoring Cider Week, during which 200 restaurants, bars, and shops will feature hard cider; and—most interesting of all— sponsoring an Apple Exchange. The exchange took place in 2011. Rossant organized the French side of things, bringing together orchardist cider makers from Le Perche, France, who came to the Hudson Valley to see how the Americans handled things, especially direct farm marketing. Nine orchardists, cider makers, and distillers from New York traveled to France to see how they made and sold hard cider. by Richard Lehnert "The American side of the exchange was funded by Glynwood, and the French side was funded by our Percheron partners," Sara Grady said. Glynwood is a nonprofit organization that raises money from philanthropists, foundations, and some grants. Tim Dressel was among the representatives from eight Hudson Valley cideries who took part in the exchange. "It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "Unfortunately, I was still in the very early stages of my new business and hadn't produced anything yet, so I couldn't relate to some of the things we were learning as well as the other producers. GOOD FRUIT GROWER AUGUST 2013 37

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - August 2013