Progress report for ONC20-075
This project brings together a team of researchers, extension personnel, and family orchard operations for the purpose of establishing optimal practices in the production of Rosé cider from sustainable berry crops. The proposed effort is in recognition of the strong growth in the Rosé cider market segment and a desire from our industry partners to meet this demand without adopting intensive fungicide and insecticide programs. Project efforts will be multi-level, involving extension programming, applied research trials, and community networking for local growers.
Extension activities will include the 2021 Ohio Cider Field Day at Ransom Sage Farm, a blending and processing exhibition at The Winery at Spring Hill, and the creation of research-based informational resources. Research trials will have two distinct branches. One focus will be on identifying pest and disease thresholds for berry fruit destined for cider production, as opposed to fresh consumption. The other focus will be to establish optimal processing and blending techniques for Rosé cider. Community outreach, through an expansion of the Ohio Hard Cider Guild, will provide networking opportunities for growers and cider producers seeking to venture into the market for fruit ciders.
- Provide best practice guidance to Midwestern fruit growers on berry cultivation for the production of Rosé cider.
- Evaluate and compare red fleshed apples and various berry fruits on the basis of hard cider quality metrics.
- Determine optimal processing and blending techniques for Rosé cider production from various fruit sources
- Expand networking opportunities for cider-focused fruit growers through Field Days, Workshops, and participatory evaluation events.
Our project has set up a black currant plot at the Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station. This planting will enable the demonstration of usage of black currants as a low spray crop for cider production in Ohio. We have selected varieties of varying levels of resistance to White Pine Blister Rust. This is a key pest and potential limitation to the use of Black Currant as a low spray crop in cider. Our project has done various blending trials with Rose’ cider to educate producers about Rose’ cider.
Juice for Rose’ cider has been analyzed for total phenolics and sugar. The Ohio Cider Guild has conducted reviews of these ciders to provide feedback on their potential for commercialization. Field data on the berry crops will resume in 2021, after delays relating to COVID-19 restrictions and reduced capacity.
Educational & Outreach Activities
This project has experienced some delays due to restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have done several virtual events and have planted a demonstration plot of black currants at the Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station. It is likely the project will seek a 1 year extension to catch up on activities that were postponed.
We are continuing to build our sustainable hard cider program. This project will be an important piece, in that we’re demonstrating the potential for Rose’ cider to be made from alternative and environmentally friendly fruit sources. We plan to have a field day in 2022 which will be a highly impactful event that will reach a large number of growers. We intend to work with various colleagues to disseminate the results of our field trial efforts.