All the apples we use in our ciders are grown by local orchards using environmentally sustainable practices. In our own Eden Orchards, we grow over 50 biodynamically (naturally organic) varieties. We work with the same growers year after year in a long-term partnership; you can learn more about our growing partners here. Together we cope with what mother nature provides in the way of weather and help each other to ensure quality fruit and quality ciders.
When you buy our ciders, you are supporting all of us and our working landscape.
Cider makers classify apple varieties into 4 broad categories based on their level of tannin and acid. Many ciders are blends from all four categories, but in a few cases, individual apples have enough balance among these characters to create a single-variety cider – like our Northern Spy Ice Cider. With our growing partners, we foster apple trees in our local bioregion using holistic, sustainable agricultural practices. We make unique and innovative ciders, respecting the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques. It all starts with apples, and we’d love for you to learn more about these fantastic fruits.
Characteristics: Low sugar, high acid, low tannins
Biting into a sharp apple is sometimes like sucking on a lemon – they’re highly acidic apples that balance out our sweet apples. Some sharp apples are juicy enough to eat off the tree, like Honeycrisp and Esopus Spitzenberg, but many are too dry and astringent for the grocery store. In cider, they lend layered aromas and citric flavors like pineapple, lemon, pear, and other tropical fruits.
A rare heirloom apple that’s has described as an “acid bomb.” When fully ripe you can eat this apple right off the tree and experience a thrilling fresh squeezed lemon flavoring with notes of pineapple. A favorite of the cider making community.
A long time cult favorite, Ashmead’s Kernel adds intense aromatics of lemon, guava, and mango to cider. Ashmead’s kernel travelled to New England in the the early 1700 and thrives in our harsh Vermont weather.
This cold loving apple presents its tartness when raised near it’s native Massachusetts. Baldwin trees are remarkably disease resilient, as a result they dominated orchards in the 1800s. As apple production scaled to become more commercial the Baldwin apple fell out of favor due to it’s biennial bearing and a cold snap in 1934 that destroyed many Baldwin trees, which were then replaced by the cold hardier McIntosh. At Eden, we love the Baldwin apple for it’s aromatic qualities and it’s balanced, sweet/tart flavoring.
Sharp and tart, this specialty apple originated in France and has since found a loving home in New England soil. It’s intensely lemony, with notes of pineapple, banana and beeswax. It’s a historic, beautiful apple often seen in classic French still life paintings and mentioned in the records of the court of Louis XV. It is the quintessential baking variety for Tarte Tatin.
Named for it’s New York origin the Empire apple is popular in desserts and cider alike. We use this apple in our Rose and Cider cans.
Lemony, orangey, and supposedly former President Obama’s favorite apple the Esopus Spitzenberg originated in the 17 century in New York. This sharp apple thrives in colder climates.
The first apple of the harvest! Gravensteins are harvested in late August to early September in the Northeast. An aromatic apple with peach and orange notes.
A large apple prized for it’s creamy flesh and high sugar to acid ratio. Lends flavors of citrus and pear.
Crisp, sharp, ubiquitous in grocery stores, and loved by growers and apple eaters alike there’s not much to say about the flavor of Honeycrisp that you haven’t likely experienced biting into one.
Originating in Hubbardston, MA this sharp apple brings out flavors of honeysuckle and white nectarine. The title “nonesuch” speaks to it’s versatility and chameleon like flavoring when planted in different soils.
Karmijn de Sonneville
Don’t let the weathered look on a tree fool you, with flavors of citrus and white grape this sharp apple is a dream for those who love highly acidic apples that pack a punch in their ciders and desserts!
Lamb Abbey Pearmain
A Scott Farm rockstar apple Lamb Abbey Pearmain is zesty, tropical, and punchy. It’s the first English variety with American heritage, descended from the Newtown Pippin.
An American classic despite its Canadian heritage most in the Northeast are familiar with the McIntosh apple. Praised for its highly aromatic flavor, the McIntosh is very suseptable to scab – a harmless biproduct of the damp New England enviornment that keeps biodynamically grown McIntosh apples from hitting grocery shelves because of aesthetics. However, scab will never stop a cidery from using this well rounded apple.
Finicky with its terroir the Northern Spy apple does well in our Vermont soil. It takes ten years to start bearing fruit but it’s well worth the wait. Gorgeous acidity and warm spice flavor are wonderful for Ice Ciders and harvest ciders alike. Popular in pies and praised for high acidty.
An excellent cooking apple for savory dishes the Orleans Reinette lends a complex nutty flavor to cider.
Red fleshed, unique, and shrouded in mystery the Redfield apple’s coloring is woven into urban legends. Tart and astringent, the Redfeild apple gets its coloring from anthocyanins, the same pigment that turns raspberries red.
Reine de Reinette
Reine de Reinette is a prized Normandy apple with complex flavors of yellow roses, lemon, white grape, and fuzzy soft tannin. A must have for heirloom orchards in the United States.
An intensely flavored treat the Reinette Clochard has flavors of table grapes, cane sugar, and lychee.
A balanced, delightful apple that doesn’t see grocery shelves because of it’s succeptability to perfectly harmless apple scab. Packed with intense tangerine flavoring with notes of vanilla and lemon – the Rubinette brightens every cider it joins.
The Spartan has a distinct almost wine like flavoring to it. The vinous flavors fade in storage so it’s best used right at peak ripeness – making it an ideal cider apple for Eden!
A vinous apple, the Winesap is aromatic and slightly bitter. Winesap became popular in the 1800s for it’s ability to grow in less rich soil and still produce lovely apples. This apple was widely available in stores across America until the advent of nitrogen storage, after which Winesap sales plummetted in favor of the Red Delicious.
Sweet, nutty, with notes of apricot the Zabergau Reinette originated in Germany and is quickly becoming popular in New England cideries.
Characteristics: High acid, High tannins
The celebrities of the cider world, bittersharp apples like Kingston Black are balanced enough to create a single variety cider. Bittersharps are aromatic, and help balance out a cider.
A star of the cider community the Binet Rouge originated in France. A late and long bloomer, it thrives in our Vermont soil.
Sweet, tart, bitter, and majestic Kingston Black is one of the very few apples that doesn’t need friends to make a delicious cider. The flavor profile starts with rosy flavors and ends in a smooth butternut – the veritable “it girl” of the cider world.
Characteristics: High sugar, low acid, low tannins
Sweet apples are by and large the kind you find in grocery stores, but not all are suitable for cider making. When you’re making cider, the amount of sugar in the apple is very important. A sweet apple will create a sweeter cider and because the yeast used to ferment cider feeds on sugar – a sweeter apple blend will create a stronger cider. Cider makers calculate the percentage of sugar in juice in Brix, a measurement that calculates how much dissolved sugar is in a mixture. But sweetness in cider doesn’t only refer to the amount of sugar in a mixture. Perceived sweetness when drinking cider is also attributable to personal palates and fruitiness – a highly aromatic cider with lots of fruit flavor may taste sweeter than a cider that has a lot of acid and sweetness, since the acid balances out the sweetness in the mixture.
Belle de Boskoop
Named for it’s tendency to grow elongated and sometimes lopsided this Dutch apple when grown in Vermont has layers of stone fruit and presents with sweetness in cider.
A celebrity among New World apples the Black Oxford is found all over Maine. We source our Black Oxford apples from growing partner Scott Farm. When picked in the fall it has a sweet, buttery flavor followed by an astringency reminiscent of bamboo shoots. If left on the tree until November that grassiness makes way for sweetness and keeps building in tropical flavors the later you pick it.
Blue Pearmain Apple
This color changing, beautifully textured apple is a sight to behold. After a frost they sprinkle with new color and flavor. A sweet and hardy apple, it lends flavors of hazelnut and cherries.
Delicious and aromatic the Egremont Russet is the most cultivated apple in England and Wales. In cider, it lends flavors of walnuts, white flowers, and pears.
The appetizer to a fall apple feast Ginger Gold is a summer apple with a narrow September harvest time. A young variety, Ginger Gold was an accidental discover by Virginia orchardists Clyde and Ginger Harvey in 1969. Surprisingly crisp for a summer apple, Ginger Gold is sweet – tart and slightly spicy. It resembles a Granny Smith when grown in our region.
Rich honey flavors permeate the Golden Russet. This apple is often the back-bone of New England and English ciders alike. The unapologetic star of cider, Rowan Jacobsen states that it “does everything better than most apples do anything”
Grimes Golden is a canary yellow apple with deep history in American bootlegging and moonshine creation. Often outshined by it’s seedling offspring, the Golden Delicious, Grimes Golden contributes sweetness to cider and is unapologetically delicious.
Hudson’s Gem eats and tastes like an asian pear. In fact it was originally sold as a pear when it entered the Oregon market in 1931.
A 1920s recipe book saved this apple from getting lost in the annals of time. The Pitmason Pineapple is on the smaller side and was neglected in the later half of the 18th century making a come back for it’s name appropriate pineapple flavor in desserts. In cider it lends pear, pineapple, and pine needle flavors. About the size of a golf ball, this apple is now only grown by apple enthusiasts who believe that small is mighty.
The oldest American apple, the Roxbury Russet has been delighting the palate of New England with flavors of guava, honeysuckle, and cherry since the 1600s.
The “secret ingredient” for Scott Farm Ciders, Sheep’s Nose can taste like cloves to those with a particular recessive gene. A very dry apple Sheep’s Nose is an oddball even among the cider world.
Snowsweet is a cold hardy variety with a rich, buttery sweetness and vinous notes.
St. Edmunds Russet
Another asian pear look alike, you need to pick St. Edmund’s Russet quickly as it comes and goes in only a couple of weeks. It has rich flavors of vanilla pudding and pear.
Characteristics: Low acid, High tannins, High sugar
Bittersweet cider apples dry tasting apples without a lot of sharpness. Bittersweet apples add high sugar and high tannins to a cider. Tannins, as with grapes, are compounds found in the skin and flesh of a fruit. Tannins give your cider a bitter flavor and drying sensation in your mouth. Bittersweet apples lend a vinous, musky, and earthy quality to cider.
A firm, hardy apple that presents with plenty of tannin and bitterness.
Prized for it’s robust fruiting the Bulmer Norman is one of the more popular cider apples in the Northeast. A true cider apple, we wouldn’t recommend eating it off the tree. Ferment Bulmer’s Norman for a bit with some apple friends though and you have a lovely, consistent cider.
An English transplant that has been adopted by many cider orchards on this side of the pond. A key component in our cans and cellars series bottles due to its high sugar and peachy tannins.
A little goes a long way with this high bitter fruit grown for us at Poverty lane and Sunrise Orchard. The tannins create a full bodies, higher alcohol cider with a dry, spicy finish.
A found variety from Franklin, Vermont this apple has strong tannins an medium sweetness. You can read about the discovery of the Franklin apple here. A truly homegrown, hardy Vermont apple – we see a bright future ahead for this one!
Harry Masters Jersey
Hay, mushroom, musk, and dark red berry – Harry Masters Jersey brings ‘funk’ to cider. Completely inedible off the tree due to it’s cotton like dryness this apple finds a home in cider orchards and presses.
A generous bearer of fruit the Major apple has a sweet yet astringent taste.
Wow tannins! Medaille D’or is a cornucopia of soft tannic textures adding bitterness and astringency to ciders.
Named after a Monsieur Michelin who promoted the creation of cider this apple is popular in cider production in the UK. It’s light in flavor, but it’s generous bearing earns it a seat at the cider table.
Muscadet de Dieppe
A cold hardy and vigorous tree this apple is used only for cider making. It lends flavors of melon and pear, producing a fruity but bitter juice.
Originating in Summerset, England this hardy apple has been adding it’s delightful flavor to ciders for many years. The resiling of the bittersweets, the Stembridge Cluster is aromatic, balanced, and bitter. One the favorites in our own holistic orchard.
An imposter apple the Tremlett’s Bitter was accidentally sold as another apple variety but was quickly favored due to it’s strawberry aroma and lovely sweet flavor.
Aptly named after being found growing out of a water mill in Yarlington England. This highly popular English transplant is a star in the American cider making world. Clean fermenting, highly aromatic, with a hint of…bubblegum?