Last week the family visited Critz Farms for what was the first of I’m sure many weekend visits to the fall festivals in this area. We hopped on the wagon and headed for the apple orchard to pick our usual bag full of apples. We got lucky. We were about the last wagon that left the main festival to be able to fill our bags. The apples were slim pickings and if you were not 6 feet tall, the pickings were even slimmer.
The Sunday edition of the Post Standard confirmed what all of us are finding. There is an apple shortage this year and it is driving up the cost of fresh cider by $1 to $2 a gallon.
The reduced supply of apples across the state is making the cost of that sweet fall beverage jump by one or two dollars a gallon. Some places have cider gallons for $8, compared to only $5 or $6 last year.
“We lost 60 percent of our apple crop, we’ve had only two weeks of pick-your-own this year,” said Matthew Critz of Critz Farms in Cazenovia. He is selling half gallons for $3.99 this year, compared to $2.99 last year. Last year, a gallon was $5.99 and he isn’t selling gallons this year.
The same is true at Ontario Orchards west of Oswego. Kathy Ouellette said the orchard lost about 50 percent of its apples and is selling its cider for $5 a gallon this year, compared to $4 a gallon last year.
There still seems to be plenty of cider to go around, but you will be paying more for it this year. I know this, I wait all summer long for that taste of sweet cider, $3.99 for a 1/2 gallon was steep but it was worth every penny in the end.