Managing a cider orchard is essentially the same as managing a dessert apple orchard. Whether you have an existing orchard of dessert apple varieties and use the culls to make cider or are growing apples specifically for cider, the key point to remember is that apples used for premium cider must have good internal quality; that is, they must be fully ripe and free of rot and other damage. External blemishes such as mildew, russet, or mild apple scab lesions are of little consequence in cider production. A key to ensuring good quality fruit for cider making is to harvest only fruit that is fully ripe. Trees that have too high a fruit load, or leaves that are unhealthy (somewhat yellowed or diseased) can have poor internal fruit quality. Since 1979, cider apple orchards have been established and managed at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC, and below are shared outputs.
- 2013 Cost Estimation of Establishing a Cider Apple Orchard in Western WA. Extension Fact Sheet FS141E (09/2014). The study results presented in this WSU fact sheet can serve as a general guide for evaluating the feasibility of establishing and producing cider apples in western Washington as of 2013.
- 2015 Cost Estimates of Establishing and Producing Specialty Cider Apples in Central WA. Extension Fact Sheet TB35E (11/2016). If you’re thinking of producing cider apples in central Washington, this publication will enable you to estimate costs of equipment, materials, supplies, and labor and also provides ranges of price and yield. This publication also helps you evaluate the feasibility and profitability of producing specialty cider apples in the region.
- Feasibility of Different Harvest Methods for Cider Apples Case Study for Western WA. WSU Extension publication TB32. The results presented in this publication serve as a general guide for evaluating the economic feasibility of hand and mechanical harvest methods for cider apples grown in western Washington as of 2015.
- Appendix-A-Hand-Harvest-Cider-Apples. Excel – interactive spreadsheet.
- Appendix-B-Mechanical-Harvest-Cider-Apples. Excel – interactive spreadsheet.
- 20 Questions on Establishing a Cider Apple Orchard (PDF).
- Establishing a Cider Apple Orchard for Mechanized Management EM117E (PDF). Alexander, T.R., C.A. Miles, S. Musacchi, E. Scheenstra and J. King. 2019. WSU Extension Publication.
- Establishing a Semi-freestanding Cider Apple Orchard: Considerations for Tree Support (PDF).
- Hard Cider Production and Orchard Management in the Pacific Northwest (PNW621, 2010). New basic manual for hard cider making, based on variety evaluations and cider trials at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC.