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Harvest Moon Cidery opens for summer

— A glass of Blissful Moon, the award-winning hard apple cider from the Harvest Moon Cidery at Critz farms, is made from apples grown in the nearby orchard and is pressed, fermented and chilled only feet away from the tap from which it was poured.

Harvest Moon Cidery at Critz Farms kicked off its first-ever summer event Thursday, July 5 with live music, food and free cider tastings.

The cidery, Critz’s newest addition, had plenty to celebrate this year. Two of its ciders placed at the New York State Fair’s commercial wine competition. Their traditional cider, Blissful Moon, taking silver and their raspberry-flavored Red Barn Raspberry cider taking bronze, both in the Hard Cider category.

Matthew Critz, who oversees cider production at Harvest Moon with the help of Patrick Allen, Juanita Critz and Jessica Critz, asserts that the difference between their cider and others’ is the ingredients and the care that they put into each step of the process.

Harvest Moon uses several varieties of apples, mostly from Critz’s own orchard, and crushes them on site with a 120-year-old press.

The Critz family planted their first apple trees in 2005 and began harvesting their own apples two years later in 2007. According to Matthew Critz, the apple orchard is a great way to offer attractions for the early fall, before pumpkin season begins.

Critz began to experiment with making his own hard apple cider, finding the ingredients and methods that yielded the best tasting result. Critz draws inspiration from both beer- and wine-making methods to create his cider.

Five years ago, Critz’s passion met opportunity in the acquisition of a 120-year-old apple cider press. The press was originally manufactured in Syracuse in the 1890s.

Finding such a press is nearly impossible and Critz counted himself fortunate to find it.

After some renovations to the press and more experimentation with the process, Harvest Moon Cidery was able to produce 1,000 gallons of cider for their Grand Opening in the fall of 2011.

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