Hardscrabble Cider is a micro farm-cidery founded by three brothers with firm horticultural backgrounds – Alex, Kevin and Ben Covino of Brewster, NY. Farmers, scientists and businessmen all around, the brothers found inspiration in the words of local hero, Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”; and (Mother Nature willing) apples they have a plenty.
Their family, who has a history in commercial tree farming, acquired a local apple orchard in early 2011, Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem, NY. The brothers, having all recently graduated with Horticulture degrees from the University of Rhode Island, immediately took to the new operation and began revamping the farm, planting thousands of apple whips and consolidating for more growing space. The entire family, along with an extremely dedicated crew, works together tirelessly to run this orchard and expand its offerings each year. The hard cider operation is the newest expansion as of Summer 2015, and has launched Brothers Covino to the forefront of the craft cider scene here in New York.
Hardscrabble Cider is the epitome of a hand-crafted, farm-to-bottle beverage. All stages of the process take place on the farm – from growing, picking and cleaning the apples, to pressing, fermenting and bottling the final product. The cider is pressed from a blend of all 10 apple varieties grown on site. Fermentation is meticulously monitored and filtering takes place several times to create the cleanest, freshest taste possible. In the end, the cider is hand-bottled and capped and then batch pasteurized to ensure stability.
Their process makes for a handful of long days but also makes, as they like to say, “Cider worth drinking”.