BY ANDREW P. ROBINSON
BIGLERVILLE, Pa. — Adams County is located in the heart of apple country. With millions of bushels being picked during the harvest season, producers are looking for new and innovative ways to use them. That’s where hard apple cider is making its mark in the region.
Jeff Musselman turns Adams County apples into Jack’s Hard Cider. He says what differentiates the cider he makes from the rest is freshness. “You know, we’re not putting apples into storage and then trucking them across the country,” Musselman said. “It’s kind of a kin to the grocery store tomato. You get it, it looks good- but when you take a bite out of it, it’s not as good as the one grown right out of your garden.”
Musselman says the apples used by Jack’s Hard Cider are also more flavorful and are more sweet, which creates a fuller taste experience. “We’re not putting apples into storage and then trucking them across the country,” he added.
He said it makes a lot of sense to support the local farmers. “It makes a lot of sense to be able to use Adams County apples and highlight what we do best in Adams County-and that’s grow fruit.”
Emma Lower is a fifth generation owner at Boyer’s Nursery and has been harvesting apples for years. “We have south facing slopes which are contributed from South Mountain and this region,” Lower said. “It’s kind of it’s own little microclimate.”
Ed McDannell grows apples that eventually will be made into hard cider. He says that Adams County is the best place to grow them.
“The soils in Adams County are deep, rich soils. The topography is rolling hills where we have the proper air drainage,” McDannell said. “Our climate, on days like to today where it’s cool, crisp, low humidity, bright humidity, cool nights, help color the apples.”
Lower said they’re branding the area as America’s Orchard. “This was one of the first orchard’s in the country and there’s a lot of history here,” Lower added.
She concluded by saying South Mountain plays a part in the identity of the fruit belt in this region.
McDannell said Pennsylvania is the fourth largest apple producing region in the Untied States. “We grow about 11-12 million bushels in PA,” he said. “We grow about 6 million bushels in the county of Adams.”
VISIT THE CIDERY
Hauser Estate Winery/Jacks Hard Cider
The Tasting Room and Winery
410 Cashtown Rd
Biglerville, PA 17307
19 Lincoln Square
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Monday-Wednesday, Sunday – 12pm-6pm
Thursday and Friday- 12pm-9pm
Saturday 10am – 9pm