Being a part of the OCCA, we were lucky enough to learn about the research that the University of Guelph is doing to more efficiently grow and harvest apples for cider production. So after a weekend of cider (Our event with Duxbury at Cider House in Toronto and the Toronto Cider Festival) we took the trip to Simcoe – along with about 75 others – to learn what research was going on in the area.
There are a handful of researchers working on various parts of the cider process. Simcoe is one of 4 designated areas in Ontario which have special apple growing trees, planted a few years ago, finally starting to bare fruit the last 2 years.
The day started with talks on scientific research regarding apple growing, apple varieties and more. It progressed to talks from Gregory Peck from Cornell University about cider growing and the US cider industry; as well as a talk from Richard Liu – president of the OCCA – on the state of craft cider in Ontario. We even got an introduction on the work being done on yeasts and fermenting processes from the Escarpment Labs in Guelph.
Many cideries, apple growers, agricultural consultants and more were in attendance this day. Its wonderful to see people from all aspects of the cider community come together to learn and chat about how to make cider a better beverage for you to consume.
We ended the session at Bonnieheath Estates down the road from the research station, for some sampling of their 2 flagship, year-round ciders, and to learn about their unique history as a farm.
We are happy to speak directly if anyone has questions about it.