Gleanings: On Apples, Terroir, and Newark Cider.

Trained&PrunedAppleTreeNewark Cider .

Gleanings: On Apples, Terroir, and Newark Cider.

Concerning Newark’s famous old time cider the following specific information on the ingredients thereof will be new and of interest to many readers. Our informant was the late John Oakes of Bloomfield. He said some time ago:

“Quite a large portion of the land in Bloomfield in the last century, the eighteenth and the first third of this the nineteenth, was in farms. They were small, comparatively few of more than fifty acres. The farmers raised on the land rye, oats, Indian corn, potatoes, and buckwheat; very little wheat and hay. They had large orchards of apples for making cider which under the name of ‘Newark cider’ was known over a large extent of country, shipped to the South, as well as to points in these parts. It was celebrated as the best. It was made the best from two kinds of apples mixed, two-thirds being Harrison apples, which were small and a light yellow color, a little tart and very juicy; and one third being the Canfield apple, large, red and sweet, both seedlings having originated here.”

Thus Newark cider was the product of Newark fruit and Newark invention. -JFF

Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Volume 3 . New Jersey Historical Society, 1918 – New Jersey.


And this from: History of Essex and Hudson Counties, New Jersey, Volume 1. Everts & Peck, 1884 – Essex County (N.J.)
“The apple was planted extensively soon after the settlement, on a wide range of the cleared land.  As early as 1682, Governor Carteret, writing to the proprietors in England said
“At Newark is made great quantities of cider, exceeding any that we have from New England, Rhode Island or Long Island”.
The high quality of Newark cider has been maintained from then until now.
The red clay soil, the debris of the red sandstone, has been congenial to the growth and fine quality of the apple and pear; in fact there is no part of the State of New Jersey where fruit is superior to that grown in the county of Essex, and where the soil has been properly tilled and fertilized, agricultural products have always met the expectations of the cultivator.”

And from: The Western Agriculturist, and Practical Farmer’s Guide. Robinson and Fairbank, 1830. Nicholas Longworth Esq. – of the famed Catawaba wines of Ohio, a man considered the father of American grape culture – writes that the Harrison, Campfield, and Graniwinkle

“are the apples from which the celebrated Newark cider is made.”

Longworth experimented growing Harrison and Virginia crab apples in Ohio for cider, but he failed to achieve a wholly successful result, and details his effort thus:

“I obtained from Newark, New Jersey, many years since, some trees of the Harrison apple from which their celebrated cider is made. The cider I made from them was aqueous and seldom retains its sweetness till the proper season for bottling.

The best Newark cider is made on the Newark mountains on a poor stony soil.

On a recent visit to that state I particularly examined this apple in their orchards to endeavour to ascertain the difference. I found the apples knotty, and of a less size than the same fruit in the West, unfit for the table but evidently possessing more of the saccharine principle. The Virginia crab retains all its fine cider qualities with us in great perfection. No soil, no climate. no cultivation can make it edible. To reconcile these apparent contradictions writers have furnished us with no clue and we must endeavour to deduce them from analogy and reason.”


Proceedings Of The Farmers Club


Mr Daniel B. Bruen, Newark, N. J. now brought forward a of cions of the apple, and read in connection therewith a report, of which the following is the substance:

This is the Harrison apple; its origin is in Orange, Essex county, N. J. and named after Simeon Harrison, owner of the farm. It is the most celebrated cider known. It bears large crops, fruit small. Eight bushels produce one barrel of cider; it is very rich in saccharine matter. This, the Campfield apple, has its origin in Newark, named after Matthew Campfield, one of the first settlers of Newark, almost universally used in the proportion of one-third with the Harrison in manufacturing the celebrated Newark cider. The fruit is rich in saccharine matter, and keeps well until spring; good for cooking, very little better for table use than a well-soaked cork from cider bottle.

Annual Report of the American Institute, of the City of New York. American Institute of the City of New York, 1869.

Search and for more interesting cider and pomological information.

Apple Belts of North America circa 1914.

LOC apple image

The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture:

Apple belts.

In comparing the great apple growing regions of the continent it is convenient to designate each by its leading variety. In the eastern part of the continent, there is the Fameuse or Wealthy belt on the north, the Ben Davis belt on the south, and the Baldwin belt lying intermediate between these two. It is seen that varieties differ greatly as to their adaptability to different regions. The degree of soil aeration and of soil moisture and the range of atmospheric and soil temperatures are among the most important determining factors of the geographical range of commercial apple growing with any variety. Passing westward into the mid continental region it is found that the Baldwin belt does not extend west of Lake Michigan. The climatic extremes are here too severe for that variety and many of its eastern associates of a similar degree of hardiness.

In all that vast territory which extends westward from the Great Lakes these varieties disappear and do not again appear till the states of the Pacific Coast are reached. Instead the Wealthy belt extends southward till it reaches the region where Wealthy yields leadership to Ben Davis. In this connection it is worthy of note that from the Atlantic Coast westward to the Missouri River, the north margin of the Ben Davis belt approximately coincides with the southern boundary of the geological area covered by the Wisconsin drift.

Wealthy belt.

The mid-continental territory in which Wealthy is generally speaking the leading variety includes northern Illinois, the north half of Iowa, and practically all of the apple growing districts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and northern Nebraska. Among the more important varieties associated with it are for the more northern parts Oldenburg, Okabenal, Patten (Patten Greening) and Malinda. Among the very hardiest of the large size apples for the North are those of the Hibernal group, but their fruit is so austere that it is esteemed of little value except for culinary uses. In the southern part of the Wealthy belt are grown hardy varieties of more or less local value such as Salome, Windsor, Black Annette and Colorado Orange varieties which as yet have not established themselves in the great world markets but which are valued where better varieties cannot be satisfactorily grown.

Ben Davis belt.

Generally speaking, Ben Davis is the leading variety in central and southern Illinois, the south half of Iowa, and the apple growing districts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and the south half of Nebraska. With its close kin the Gano, and the Black Ben Davis which evidently are highly colored bud sports of Ben Davis. it probably produces at least one half of the commercial apple crop in this region. Winesap and Jonathan appear to be next in order of importance with Winesap perhaps in the lead. Other important varieties are Grimes, Rome Beauty, Willow (Twig), Missouri (Pippin), Minkler and Ralls. York Imperial is gaining ground Stayman Winesap is one of the newer kinds which will be more largely planted. Delicious also is attracting attention particularly because of its agreeable dessert quality and good appearance. The Stayman and Delicious are being planted to some extent in the southern part of the Wealthy belt as Jonathan and Grimes have been.

Page 325.


The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture:

A Discussion for the Amateur, and the Professional and Commercial Grower, of the Kinds, Characteristics and Methods of Cultivation of the Species of Plants Grown in the Regions of the United States and Canada for Ornament, for Fancy, for Fruit and for Vegetables; with Keys to the Natural Families and Genera, Descriptions of the Horticultural Capabilities of the States and Provinces and Dependent Islands, and Sketches of Eminent Horticulturists, Volume 1

Edited by Liberty Hyde Bailey, Macmillan, 1914

Read or download a copy via google here.