Valley Rewind: Cider traditions in Western North Carolina
In this circa 1910 photograph from the Vella Hendrix Landis Collection of the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center, a convivial group drinks cold apple cider on a warm day. A jug sits in the foreground. Cider making — alcoholic and non-alcoholic — has been a tradition in Western North Carolina for hundreds of years. In the 18th century, German, English, Scottish and Irish colonizers would have brought apple seeds and even saplings with them to begin growing their own apples. The crossbreeding of apple varieties brought from disparate parts of Europe introduced genetics that were suitable for surviving the often hard winters of Southern Appalachia. Western North Carolina is on the edge of the apple season. Soon varieties like honeycrisp, gala, and ginger Gold will be ripe for eating. Where will you be getting your cider?