WASHINGTON AG NETWORK – GLENN VAAGEN – Washington State University was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the USDA to help the growing cider industry. The grant, called “Apple to Glass” focuses on improving orchard profitability through developing regional craft ciders. WSU’s Bri Ewing said this is very exciting news for small and mid-sized growers and orchardists
“What we’re doing is we’re first assessing our grower’s needs and seeing what their biggest needs to help market their products are. And then we are sequentially going through and looking at grower needs and cider makers and what they need and all the way to the supply chain to distributors and retailers.”
The grant funds three years of research and allows WSU to work with colleagues in Michigan, Vermont and Wisconsin. Ewing said currently, the cider industry is facing a shortage of cider apples. She added this research could be a great opportunity for smaller growers.
“Of course that comes with its risks as well. It takes a few years for you to actually see that fruit, and trends might change in that meantime, so you want to make sure you pick a variety that cider makers will continually want to use, and that’s part of the research that we’re doing.”
Ewing acknowledged there is risk for apple growers, because there really isn’t another market if a cider maker does not purchase a grower’s apples.
Posted By: Glenn Vaagen, Washington Ag Network, January 10, 2019
Picture: WSU – Cider