The best of North Carolina’s hard cider, coupled with award-winning bluegrass music, will be on tap Saturday, April 22 in downtown Hendersonville at the Apple Country Cider Jam. The inaugural event showcases eight hard cideries, two producers of nonalcoholic cider and two local wineries. The music lineup is headlined by noted bluegrass band Balsam Range, winner of 10 awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association.
Henderson County is a befitting place to celebrate NC’s burgeoning cider industry. The county produces 85 percent of the state’s apples and leads the way in hard cider production as well.
“We have world-class cider produced right here, and it all starts with our great apples,” says Mark Williams, executive director of Agribusiness Henderson County and event organizer. “The Cider Jam kicks off the whole season of apple production. It coincides with the apples in full bloom and promotes a product that can be enjoyed year-round.”
Festival cideries must be based in North Carolina and use apples sourced within the state. The eight hard cideries are: Bold Rock Hard Cider in Mills River; Bull City Ciderworks in Lexington and Durham; Crimson Ridge in Mills River; Flat Rock Ciderworks in Hendersonville; GoodRoad CiderWorks in Charlotte; Noble Cider in Asheville; The 1898 Waverly Inn in Hendersonville; and Wallace Ciders from St. Paul Mountain Vineyards in Hendersonville.
Local producers Apple Wedge Packers & Cider and McConnell Farms will provide fresh, nonalcoholic cider varieties, while Burntshirt Vineyards of Hendersonville, will serve apple wine.
Organizers scored a coup with Western North Carolina’s own Balsam Range atop the music lineup. Balsam Range is one of the country’s premier bluegrass bands and will be complemented by two accompanying bands – the bluesy folk female trio of Underhill Rose and the Josh Daniel-Mark Schimick Project, which melds bluegrass, soul, reggae and rock into its own unique sound.
The Apple Country Cider Jam runs from 1 to 6 pm. Tickets are $25 and include tastings, souvenir cup and live music. Non-alcohol tickets are $10. A limited number of tasting tickets will be sold at the gate if space is available. Food will be available from local food trucks and downtown restaurants, while full pints of cider will be sold for $5. Get advance tickets here.
Former TV weatherguy who never got it right, til the day I predicted mostly cloudy skies with a 100% chance of unemployment. I've survived stints as a morning radio host, stay-at-home dad, and lab assistant. All left me with with varying degrees of side-effects, which somehow combined to make me a good fit to be the editor/video producer of the828.com.