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Little Apple Farm in Hillsdale, New York is a 300-tree orchard operated by Ron Bixby and his wife Alanne Baerson since 1980. The Roe Jan Independent profiled them in a 1987 article that described how
to restore an old apple orchard…basically hard work and a lot of love. Ron comes from an apple growing family in, where else, Appleton, Wisconsin.
The farm went organic in the 1990s. Organic doesn’t mean no spray. Ron explains that unlike non-organic orchards, only certified organic materials are used at Little Apple Farm, such as sulfur, calcium, clay, even seaweed and baking powder, rather than toxic insecticides and fungicides. “It’s expensive and time consuming, and thats why so few organic apples are on the market,” according to Ron.
Hard cider, more specifically “Cidre fermier” small batch traditional sparkling farm cider wine, has a long tradition at the farm, and now not just for home consumption. Made from hand-picked Northern Spy, Golden Russet, Baldwin and English cider apples, notably Cox Orange Pippin, Little Apple Farm Cider is dry, crisp and aromatic, an American Proseco. “Ciderfest” is a major farm event held every
October. In addition to hard-to-find eating and cider apples, the farm specializes in gourmet fruit; Smyrna and Russian quince, Medlar, and Chinese chestnuts, and hand processed jams and jellies.