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When we talk about Hudson Valley and Catskill cider, we have to shine a spotlight on those micro-producers in the northern reaches of the region, like Ryan McGiver of Scrumpy Ewe. McGiver was born and raised in West Fulton in Schoharie County and returned to West Fulton when he set his sights on cider-growing. Inspired by the rich cider culture of Europe, where he toured as a folk musician, he returned to the States and trained under Eric Shatt of Cornell and the acclaimed Redbyrd Cider, honing his technical skill and palate. McGiver has crystal clear intention with his ciders, focusing on precise, cold fermentation with natural and selected yeasts (DV-10 is preferred for its neutrality). This yields astoundingly transparent ciders of depth and clarity. The idea of holistic "cider-growing" comes from the notion that cider starts in the orchard, and in this case, McGiver's own organic orchard: "Everything starts with picking quality cider apples from the orchards. My mother's family, The Von Lindens, farmed the Schoharie Valley since the early 19th century and my brother and I proudly continue this tradition by growing quality bittersharp and bittersweet cider apples. Whether it is from the fruit we grow at Scrumpy Ewe Orchards or from various orchards we work from the Hudson valley to the Finger Lakes, all our cider begins with individually hand-selecting each apple based on its unique characteristics to be used as a stand alone single varietal or part of greater blend."