Everybody knows not to judge a book by its cover. Labels and fancy packaging, same thing. Still, it’s hard to resist picking up a bottle of the hard cider produced by the new Yankee Folly Cidery when its label is so striking, a depiction of vibrant red apples and green leaves in a crisply rendered botanical illustration juxtaposed with vivid red lettering.
Bottle in hand, the next thing one notices is the clarity of the cider: a crystal clear, pale gold liquid without a sign of cloudiness. “Liquid Gold. Drink it Cold.” That’s the cidery slogan.
The product strives for a taste that’s crisp and refreshing, with a pure apple flavor balanced between dry and sweet, something that would go well with foods one might otherwise choose say a Riesling to accompany.
Yankee Folly Cidery, launched in April, is the joint venture of business partners Edmund Tomaselli and Eric James. Their hard cider is produced with apples from the Jenkins & Lueken orchards on Yankee Folly Road in New Paltz. In the 1940s James’s grandfather, Jack Lueken, started the orchard business with his partner Raymond Jenkins. The orchards that began with a few trees now produce more than 40 varieties of apple, including the Golden Russet that Lueken brought with him to this country from Germany. Juice from that apple is now part of the blend of apple varieties selected and pressed to create the hard cider produced by Lueken’s grandson and Tomaselli, set up in what was once a chicken coop.
James runs the farm at Jenkins & Lueken Orchards, so he didn’t have a lot of time on his hands to take on another business. But Tomaselli was persistent. He had his heart set on using the apples from the New Paltz orchard, and finally enlisted James as his business partner.