[nafex] Re: Scrumpy

woodard214 dwoodard at becon.org
Thu Dec 27 05:24:04 EST 2001

--- In nafex at y..., "Helga and Bert Dunn" <helbert at i...> wrote:
> When in UK some years ago, I asked for 'scrumpi" in small town  
taverns. My impression-bone dry, bitter, hugh in tannin[---just 
superb!! In our party of three I was the only scrumpi enthusiat.
> Have tried to duplicate it for some years- can only get 1/2 way 
there- will keep trying. Have bought 6-7 store bought varieties, none 
IMO were near as good as scrumpi- why not?--sweet to start , and too 
bland and_____ and ______- you get the idea
> Bert

In my reading the usual spelling was "scrumpy" said to be hard cider 
made on the farms that produced the apples, for farm or local use, 
very variable in quality.

Bear in mind that what you drank in "small town taverns" in the UK 
was probably made and sold for a local market with a tradition of 
thousands of years of use of this beverage.

What you bought in the stores was probably made for a mass market 
unfamiliar with the product, made from juice of eating apples readily 
available on the international market plus some chemical additives. 
Also, my understanding is that processing apples for the juice market 
are grown with more nitrogen than for the fresh eating market as most 
of the processing market will accept a lower quality of apple.

Traditional cider making in Britain involves apples of traditional 
cider cultivars, and I would expect that somewhat traditional methods 
involving a relatively low level of nitrogen fertilization would 
produce the best quality as they do in eating apples. 

Planting the traditional cider cultivars involves considerable risk
as if the market turns out not to be there after 6-10 years of 
developing the orchard, the only market would be the commercial juice 
market. I don't know whether the traditional cider cultivars have the 
productivity to compete in this market. I suspect not.

I suspect though that from the quality point of view the specialty 
fresh juice market could absorb juice from traditional cider 
cultivars. In the past one small Ontario producer of fresh juice from 
eating apples (sold in supermarkets) added a little extra acid and I 
think tannin to give the product a little extra bite. I preferred it.

I would expect a quality product either way, from a small producer 
with a desire to produce quality. I don't expect high quality from 
producers for the mass market. The high and increasing concentration 
in the supermarket trade suggests that farm gate sales or specialty 
stores would be the only reliable market as supermarket chains like 
to sell a new product in all their stores or none.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

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