Why We Turn Our Apples into Hard Cider?


No one really knows the origins of hard cider or who invented it.  What is known is that human beings have been making it for a very long time.  Some of their fermented cider probably tasted pretty good, while some of their concoctions probably tasted pretty awful.  Even with an occasional snafu, humans persevered and kept on turning their apples into hard cider.  Why endure when a potential fermentation flop could happen?


Besides from just plain taste bud enjoyment, when fermentation victory occurred, we ended up with a mighty good tasting beverage that had many uses.  In the past, people used hard cider for trade, paid wages and had a safe beverage when other drinks were contaminated.   Fermenting cider also gave early humans a way to preserve perishable apples.  Lastly, fermenting the apple crop into hard cider gave us humans a reason to celebrate and come together with our neighbors and friends.  Clearly, some reasons for making hard cider were prompted by necessity.  While other reasons for fermenting came about because people just wanted to be creative and have a fun with their apple crop.


At Cottonwood Farm, the idea to turn our apple harvest into hard cider was born out of a little bit of both reasons.   Dan and I had the necessity to find a use for all of our apples and we had the wish to have fun while creating a sellable product. We also realized early on in our hard cider study that we wanted to embrace the fact that each year our hard cider might taste different because we are using apples that we grow and harvest from our orchard.  A hard cider’s flavor is greatly affected by the twists and whims of nature and the apple varieties that are used.  Dan and I also wanted to be creative when making Cottonwood Cider House’s hard cider.  Our goal is to produce a distinctive hard cider every year that emphasizes that year’s apple crop’s characteristics and our artistic touches.


Now that we figured out what to do with our apples, Dan and I have begun to craft our hard cider and plan our cider house building. Dan has become Cottonwood Cider House’s lead cider maker.  I’m his best helper.  We’ve got a lot of great volunteer taste testers too.  Dan and I are aiming to have a product ready for sale in the near future.  So far, we’ve created some failures and some successful ciders.  I’m pleased to report that the successes taste pretty good!  There are still a lot of unknowns and our business continues to evolve daily.  We will keep you posted.


If you are interested in reading more about what goes on in Cottonwood's Cider House, please continue to visit our website. Stacy updates the Cider House web page regularly. Or, for up-to-date orchard information, like us on Facebook.

Orchard Manager

Stacy Nelson-Heising

tel. 701.866.9913


Cider House Manager

Daniel Heising

tel. 701.866.9168



“A nice country drive 45 minutes NW of Fargo, ND, easy to find with paved roads taking you to Cottonwood Farm"

Cottonwood Cider House | 14481 25 Street Southeast |  Ayr, ND | 58007


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