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Cider apples: from branch to bottle

Greg Hall has his eye on these Nichols Farm apple varietals for his new cider line.

 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams

Brown snout

�These oxidize really quickly,� says Hall of the small, green-yellow apples, �so you get more color in the cider that way.�

 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams

Chisel Jersey

�You couldn�t sell this apple if you tried,� says Todd Nichols, one of the farmers. Like many cider apples, it�s too bitter to eat raw. Or as Nichols puts it, �It�s fricking disgusting.� Fortunately, in hard cider, that bitter flavor profile provides astringency.

 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams

Cox orange pippins

�These were in my kids� lunch box today,� says Hall of this red-orange English apple, which is well-suited for both eating and fermenting into hard cider.

 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams

Harry Masters

Small with a rich red color, these bittersweet apples are good for cider because of their notable tannins, which (as in wine) give a fuller flavor to the final product.

 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams

Northern spy

�It�s an American variety that doesn�t have the tannins that the English variety has but does have a decent amount of tannins,� says Hall of this popular baking apple.

RedStreak will be made from a blend of apples from different local growers. Hall is in the apple-testing phase, and he’s considering these five cider-friendly varietals grown by Nichols Farm. 

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