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Cider on your city block

Fruit trees abound in Seattle and its surrounding metro areas—and that’s a sweet opportunity for its community members. Plucking ripe apples straight from your city block means crisp cider at your table.

Bri Ewing
Bri Ewing, WSU Food and Fermentation Specialist.

Celebrate fall and its urban bounty by learning how to press your own Washington apple cider this Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in downtown Seattle.

Rounding out MOHAI’s multi-month Edible City: A Delicious Journey exhibit, Bri Ewing, Washington State University Food and Fermentation Specialist, teams up with City Fruit to lead the family-friendly event, free for museum members, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at MOHAI, 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle.

“All cider starts with an apple,” says Ewing “and Washington is the apple state.”

With cider apples from the WSU Mount Vernon Northwest Washington Research and Extension Center, Ewing will share the science behind WSU’s new varieties of apples, information on urban orchards, and advice on crafting the perfect hard cider.

A portable cider press in action
A portable cider press in action (WSU photo).

“I love creating a completely new product from something else,” says Ewing. “Tiny micro-organisms make these changes for you, converting sugars into alcohol and producing aromas and flavor compounds that turn juice into cider.”

As the popularity of cider continues to grow, Washington benefits: our state grows the most apples of any in the nation. And researchers at WSU, like Ewing, work to help growers and cider makers perfect their craft—and keep Washington state at the forefront of the tree fruit industry.

Scientists at WSU grow more than 60 varieties of apples and they study fermentation to create the perfect varieties for eating, for cider, and for lots of other foods and beverages. WSU apples like Sunrise Magic, a cross between Splendour and Gala, and the brand new Cosmic CrispTM, a hybrid of Enterprise and Honeycrisp, are meeting a global demand for a crisper, more delicious eating experience.

“In the next few years, we will see these new varieties in orchards, farms and grocery stores across the Northwest,” Ewing predicts. “The best is yet to come with Cosmic Crisp.”

The Cosmic CrispTM apple is the latest creation of WSU’s world-class tree fruit breeding program.
The Cosmic CrispTM apple is the latest creation of WSU’s world-class tree fruit breeding program (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower).

In addition to apples, the Rainier cherry, the Meeker raspberry and the Rosa peach were all developed at Washington State University. WSU wheats like Otto and Edison, Lyon barley, and our Elwha River Spelt are made into hearty, healthy breads, noodles and cakes, and high-quality beer. And WSU researchers also constantly improve pears, potatoes, wine grapes, quinoa, hops and mint.

By developing the best varieties of apples, berries and grains, WSU leads the way in making your table nutritious and delicious. And educational opportunities, like the ones offered at the WSU Mount Vernon Cider School and at MOHAI this Saturday, put do-it-yourself tools directly in the community’s hands.

Ewing is excited to share her discoveries with families and children at MOHAI, and to make the science that informs professional cider making accessible to all.