The 4 Components of Flavor: Orcharding for High-Flavor Fruit

Speaker: Stina Booth

Date & Time: Friday, February 3, 10:00-11:15am

We all know you need really good apples (or pears for perry) to make really good cider. Turns out there’s more to it than picking the right varieties. Based on 25 years of orchard experience in Eastern Washington, Stina will discuss what orchard management practices she uses to grow great-tasting apples and pears for use in cider. 

From the Ground-Up: Opportunities for Mechanical Apple Harvesting

Speaker: Dr. Gregory Peck, Joe Gaynor

Date & Time: Friday, February 3, 2:00-3:15pm

In this presentation, Dr. Gregory Peck will discuss the use of mechanical harvesters for cider apple orchards. Apple harvesting labor is typically the largest single annual operating expense for an orchard, costing as much as $2,983/acre. Economic case studies for six orchard operations located in NY found that management strategies that afford greater efficiencies are a key to cider apple orchard profitability. Additionally, Cornell recently developed partial budget models that compared purchasing and using harvesting equipment to hand harvesting labor costs for small- (5 acre), medium- (15 acre), and large-scale (60 acre) apple orchards. We found that utilizing mechanical harvesting machinery across all three orchard size models was more profitable than hand harvesting. In Europe, which has a long-standing cider industry, cider apples are almost exclusively harvested mechanically from the ground. A diversity of apple harvesters are currently available from European manufacturers allowing cider apple producers to identify machinery that matches their operation scale. Because of the large number of relatively small to medium scale cider orchards in the U.S., growers could also cooperatively purchase a harvester, and, like the UK cider industry and U.S. grape industry, there is an opportunity for contract harvest businesses. Finally, Dr. Peck will show videos of their recent trials with mechanical harvesting in a high-density cider apple orchard. Joe Gaynor from Angry Orchard will be available during this session to share his experience with mechanical harvesting and to address questions from the perspective of an apple grower and cider producer.

The Impacts of Drought on Apple Production

Speaker: Elizabeth Garofalo

Date & Time: Thursday, February 2, 1:45-3:00pm

This talk will cover the potential harm to apple trees when stressed by lack of water, the state of drought in several apple growing regions in 2022, with a focus on areas that experienced worse than “normal” drought conditions as well as looking at climate change trends relating to drought in apple producing regions. In addition, the potential impacts of drought on juice quality will be discussed.