Over half our acres grow cider apples for fermentation. With large cider orchards planted in the 90’s on another former dairy farm on Black Hill in Plainfield, NH, we’re the biggest grower of cider apples in the U.S. (That will change — growers in other regions are finally planting for cider. Their apples will taste different from ours: true regional cider character will eventually re-emerge from American soil!) A very few old-time eating apples also contribute major magic to Farnum Hill ciders. But by and large, most of the good fruit-bowl varieties yield blah-to-bad fermentations.
Starting early in the 20th century, scores of excellent eating and cooking apples vanished from general trade, as bulk refrigeration and food photography brought more fragile, more eye-catching varieties into favor. Crunch and looks eventually beat out flavor and usefulness. On the cider side, the temperance movement and Prohibition of course crushed U.S. cider orcharding.