WHEN THEIR FAMILY ACQUIRED a 60-acre apple orchard six years ago, the Covino brothers—Alex, Kevin, and Ben—immediately tinkered with the idea of putting their apple crop to good use. And with the recent upswing in the popularity of hard cider, it seemed only logical to try their hand at the craft.
Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard, formerly Outhouse Orchard, was purchased by local nursery owner, Rob Covino, in 2010. The orchard was home to 60 acres of culinary apple trees and a variety of other stone fruit and vegetables. Culinary apples aren’t a traditional cider fruit, but the Covino brothers were driven by Teddy Roosevelt’s quote: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
The brothers, each with a degree in horticulture and years of experience working on their family’s nursery, had the background knowledge to keep the orchard flourishing to ensure a healthy crop. Utilizing the apple varieties at their disposal, their goal was to ultimately craft a light, crisp hard cider that embodied drinkability.
After years of experimentation, they crafted a cider which truly reflected the crop: an off-dry cider with strong apple flavor and aroma. No extra sugar is added; fresh- pressed sweet cider is introduced post-fermentation to enhance the taste and to ensure the final product isn’t overly dry. You won’t find preservatives or additives either – the brothers choose to batch pasteurize each and every bottle to ensure a clean and natural product. “It was our goal to make a truly craft beverage. We press the apples. We fill, pasteurize, and label every bottle.”
Success with their Dry and Standard recipes led the brothers to get creative with other varieties, such as Cranberry—a semi-dry tart cider that incorporates fresh cranberries—and Fruit of the Farm, a sweeter variety that incorporates peaches, nectarines, blueberries, and strawberries. Their Citra cider, one of the most popular to date, involves fermenting cider over citra hops. New varieties, such as Ginger Lemon and Beet, will debut this spring, along with the first keg run of Hardscrabble Cider. The recent planting of over 1,000 cider-variety apple trees will lead to even more experimentation down the road.
A nod to cider’s history in this country, Hardscrabble Cider features an Americana theme – and the tasting room attempts to embody the same feel. The walls are lined with reclaimed barnwood, old emblems of American history hang from the walls, and quality hand-crafted beverages are readily available. In addition to cider (sold by the bottle, pint, and flight), the tasting room features New York-crafted beer (on tap and by the bottle), liquor, cordials, and wine. The addition of an outdoor patio—dubbed the “Cider Garden”—is open spring and summer to enjoy drinks, food, and live music.
130 Hardscrabble Rd.
North Salem, NY 10560
Jan–Mar: Fri–Sat, 10am–4:30pm
Apr–Dec: Mon–Sat, 10am–6pm
New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas
$10.00 per flight
Start at $10.00 per person
Alex Covino, Kevin Covino, Ben Covino
Alex Covino, Kevin Covino, Ben Covino, Anthony Sepe