LAFAYETTE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s officially apple season in the Northeast and mid-September marks the start of the picking season for this fan-favorite apple.
Originally introduced to Minnesota in 1991, the Honeycrisp apple gained popularity and thrived in New York State, particularly at the local Beak & Skiff apple orchard in LaFayette, NY.
The more than 100-year-old family-owned apple orchard – which was recently ranked by USA TODAY as one of the top ten apple orchards in the country – has more than 350,000 apple trees on its 1,000-acre farm and knows a thing or two on the Honeycrisp crop.
Eddie Brennan, Beak & Skiff and president of 1911, says Honeycrisp season is like Christmas Eve on the farm and they start the season with their annual Honeycrisp Dinner, which was held Monday evening, September 18 of This year.
“At our annual Honeycrisp event, we have people from all over who come to celebrate what is essentially Christmas Eve for us here at Beak & Skiff because Honeycrisp are the top apple, it’s the best apple, the favorite from the public that everyone loves. They know it and have come to love it,” Brennan said.
Scientifically, Honeycrisp apples are favored for their juicy sweetness and super crisp flesh, which is why Beak & Skiff grows this crop every year and for many years.
Brennan’s great-great-grandfather, onion farmer George Skiff, started Beak & Skiff in 1911, partnering with dairy farmer Andrew Beak to form the Beak & Skiff name.
“My great-great-grandfather planted the first apple trees here and it’s truly remarkable that we’re still here today, but we were able to do it by starting new businesses like cider and cannabis that took us really helped us get to this point in our family business.
The company has diversified over the years with the introduction of its 1911 cider brand and cannabis, building the largest cannabis bottling facility (20,000 square feet) on the East Coast. They were the first company in New York State to launch a THC beverage with their Ayrloom cannabis brand, available for purchase at adult-use dispensaries across the state.
At Beak & Skiff’s annual Honeycrisp Dinner, guests typically dine and go apple picking, but this year they included a private tour of the cannabis farm and processing facilities, as the company launched its drink at low dose cannabis with Honeycrisp.
“Honeycrisp low-dose drinks are brewed with farm-grown apples, with no added sugar. Each can contains only 1 mg of THC, making it perfect for someone new to cannabis or looking to consume several in one evening,” said Sasha Abramzon of Marino PR.
Like many New York State apple orchards, severe spring frosts have made it difficult for some orchards to offer apple picking this year, but Beak & Skiff has made it a priority this year to ensure let this not happen, so that their Honeycrisp crop can flourish.
“Pete Fleckenstein, who manages our orchard, and his team work year-round to grow these apples. We are so excited to have a great Honeycrisp crop this year,” said Brennan. “We’ve been doing this for over 110 years and this year the team worked really hard at first with our precision pruning and then on some of these very cold May nights that we had here they were here with smudge pots at two and three in the morning, I work as a team to move them throughout the orchard, just to ensure the survival of the crops and to be able to increase the temperature of the crops.
At the Honeycrisp Dinner, Beak & Skiff shared new Honeycrisp flavored products that customers who visit their apple orchard can purchase this week.
“Agriculture is a very difficult sector and we can celebrate this aspect of our business tonight. These are all people who really love apples, especially Honeycrisp apples, and tonight they have first access to the harvest,” Brennan said. “As people know, Honeycrisp apples go fast and they have first choice on these beautiful apples and can experience some of our Honeycrisp cocktails, our hard cider and they can just share their love with Honeycrisp apples.”
Honeycrisp products customers can now purchase include Beak & Skiff’s Honeycrisp Vodka, Honeycrisp Canned Mule and Honeycrisp Canned THC Drink.
To learn more about Beak and Skiff and their Honeycrisp products, visit their website.