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Mar 4, 2012 10:09 AM

Gifts Suggestions for an Apple Farmer Who Wants to Make Hard Cider

Does anyone have any gift suggestions for what to give a commercial apple farmer who wants to start making hard cider? He grows dozens of varieties of apples on his farm and wants to start exploring hard cider, first just very small batch stuff for personal consumption and fun but if it turns out any good then he'll look into commercializing it. I'd like to get him something thoughtful to kick off his exploration. Ideas, thoughts appreciated!


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  1. Hi, jen_om:

    I make cider and might be able to help. How much do you want to spend, and is he starting from scratch?

    You might start by buying him copy of Annie Proulx's book on making cider (pretty basic). Also point him to Washington State University's Agricultural Extension Station in Mt. Vernon, WA. Every year they hold a 1-week hands-on intensive course in cidermaking with a renowned English expert.

    If it's equipment you're after, a good source is Their annual Pre-Order sale is underway for big-ticket items like shredders and presses.

    Feel free to contact me directly.


    2 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Thank you! He has made hard cider in the past but it was years ago and he says it wasn't very good. He makes regular cider all the time, sells it commercially etc so it's all very good.

      The WSU site was very useful. I ended up spending hours reading and learning. I didn't end up with anything to buy him but I learned a lot. If you can think of a great gift that is under $200 please do send me ideas!

      Thanks for your help!

      1. re: jen_om

        Hi, jen_om:

        You're surely welcome.

        Gifts... Well, most folks in the USA think of hard cider as sparkling (as opposed to still). The challenge of making cider sparkle AND be clear in the glass is somewhat eternal. Either you rack and filter and *then* carbonate using supplemental C02, OR you trouble yourself learning the Methode Champagnoise. (Or you do as most have done and learn to love the mud and pour carefully).

        In either and any case, your friend will need to bottle his cider, and there is a tool that is designed to transfer carbonated beverages into the bottle without losing too much of the C02 in solution. It is also a convenient, single-spout bottle filler in its own right, and has gas-sparging and inert gas siphon capability that he may "grow into" as he learns. The product is known as the "BeerGun", and it (along with a dealer listing) can be found here:

        Have Fun,

    2. How about a bottle of Laird's Applejack or Laird's Apple Brandy?