Cider Apple Blend Wins 2017 Glintcap Medal

Blend, "Astringent Delight", which includes the new Stark® Franklin Cider™ apple, takes Bronze at the 2017 Glintcap International Cider & Perry competition.

New Stark Bro's cider apple blend wins Glintcap medal, praise from experts

LOUISIANA, MO — May 8, 2017 — Since announcing the debut of its new Stark® Franklin Cider™ apple in January, Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co. has been piling up the accolades. It recently contributed to cidermaker Bill Mayo's Bronze-medal win at the 2017 Glintcap International Cider & Perry competition. Mayo's "Astringent Delight" won the award for Heritage Cider - Dry in the Non-Commercial category.

Cider authorities Bill Mayo and Tom Frey weigh in on the Stark® Franklin Cider™ apple, a Holy Grail of sorts in the cider-making community for its very unique combination of characteristics.

Only one in a line of new varieties introduced by Stark Bro's this year, the Stark® Franklin Cider™ apple is high in tannins, acids and sugar, an unusually complete set of sought-after characteristics that will have considerable appeal to hard-cider producers.

The Bronze medal won by Bill Mayo for his "Heritage Cider Dry" was made with the Stark® Franklin Cider™ apple.

Back in 2008, Bill Mayo discovered a chance seedling in the midst of his 400-tree Honeycrisp orchard, and started incorporating it into the cider he was making for his general store in Franklin, VT.

The mystery apple added a bite and dry finish to his sweet cider, which became very popular. Bill saw the fruit's opportunity for hard cider as well, and began sending off samples for evaluation — some of which found their way to Stark Bro's, who realized the potential and secured the rights. The cold-hardy apple has formally been named Stark® Franklin Cider™, as an homage to the town where it originated. More than 2,000 trees were immediately budded on B.118 and are now available to growers on a wholesale basis. Plans are in the works to produce enough inventory to feed the consumer taste for hard cider.

Terence Bradshaw, tree fruit and viticulture specialist with the University of Vermont, has noted that tannins are the most difficult characteristic to get out of commercially grown hard-cider apples. (Tannins are polyphenolic compounds that provide mouthfeel, dryness, and a slight bitterness, all characteristics that are desirable in craft hard ciders.) He noted that the Stark® Franklin Cider™ apple ranked fifth highest in total polyphenols, third highest in sugars, and that the apple's acidity is akin to 'Northern Spy' and 'Liberty'.

Tom Frey, owner of Elfs Farm Winery & Ciderhouse, and 2016 Eastern States Exposition cider Gold winner, waxed rather romantically about Mayo's creation, calling it a "delicious elixir" with "strong and welcome notes of crisp apple," one of the hardest aspects of hard cider to maintain.

"The second thing to grab my attention," continued Frey, "were the tannins and astringency, and the long, complex finish. Best of all, it made me want more. I believe you have a winner for blending in both sweet and hard ciders there. Can't wait to get my hands on some stock and for it to crop so I can begin playing with this apple."

"This new variety will likely supplant 'Kingston Black' (the current bittersharp cider apple benchmark) because it's far easier to grow, is a prolific annual producer and shows no signs of scab or cedar rust," says Cameron Brown, Stark Bro's president and CEO. "It's going to change the cider industry."

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