LAFAYETTE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s officially apple season in the northeast, and mid-September marks the start of picking season for this fan-favorite apple.
Originally introduced in Minnesota in 1991, the honeycrisp apple has grown in popularity and flourished in New York State, especially for local apple orchard Beak & Skiff in LaFayette, N.Y.
The over 100-year-old, family-run apple orchard — which was recently ranked by USA TODAY as one of the ten best apple orchards in the nation — has over 350,000 apple trees on its 1,000-acre farm, and knows a thing or two about the honeycrisp crop.
Eddie Brennan, Beak & Skiff and 1911’s President, says honeycrisp season is like Christmas Eve at the farm and they start the season with their annual Honeycrisp Dinner, which happened Monday night, Sept. 18 this year.
“At our annual honeycrisp event, we have people from all over who come and celebrate what is essentially Christmas Eve for us here at Beak & Skiff because honeycrisp are the superior apple, it’s the best apple, the crowd favorite that everyone loves. They know about it and have come to love it,” said Brennan.
Scientifically, honeycrisp apples are a favorite 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, actually started Beak & Skiff in 1911, partnering with dairy farmer Andrew Beak to form the name Beak & Skiff.
“My great-great grandfather planted the first apple trees here and really its remarkable that we’re still here today, but we’ve been able to do that by starting new ventures like the hard cider and the cannabis that really has allowed us to get to this point in our family business.”
The company has diversified over the years with the introduction of their hard cider brand 1911 and with cannabis, building the largest (20,000-square-foot) cannabis bottling facility on the East Coast. They were the first company in New York State to launch a THC beverage with their cannabis brand Ayrloom, which is available for purchase at adult-use dispensaries throughout the state.
At Beak & Skiff’s annual Honeycrisp Dinner, guests typically eat dinner and go apple picking, but this year included a private tour of the cannabis farm and processing facilities, as the company debuted its low-dose cannabis beverage in honeycrisp.
“The low-dose honeycrisp beverages are brewed with apples from the farm, with no added sugar. Each can has just 1mg of THC, so it’s perfect for someone new to cannabis or interested in consuming multiple over one evening,” stated Sasha Abramzon, of Marino PR.
Like many apple orchards in New York, the harsh spring frost has made it difficult for some orchards to offer apple picking this year, but Beak & Skiff made it a priority this year to make sure that didn’t happen, so their honeycrisp crop could thrive.
“Pete Fleckenstein, who runs our orchard, and his team works all year to grow these apples. We’re just so excited that we have a great honeycrisp crop this year,” said Brennan. “We’ve been doing this for over 110 years and the team this year worked really hard in the off with our precision trimming and then on some of those really cold nights in May we experienced out here, they were out here with smudge pots at two and three in the morning working as a team to move them throughout the orchard, just to ensure the crops survived and to be able to raise the temperature of the crop.”
At the honeycrisp dinner, Beak & Skiff shared some exciting new honeycrisp flavored products that customers who visit their apple orchard can buy this week.
“Farming is a really tough business and we get to celebrate that aspect of our business tonight. It’s all people who really like apples, specifically honeycrisp apples, and tonight they get first access to the crop,” said Brennan. “As people know honeycrisp apples go quick and they get first pick at these beautiful apples and get to experience some of our honeycrisp cocktails, our hard cider and they just get to share their love with honeycrisp apples.”
Honeycrisp products that customers can now buy include Beak & Skiff’s Honeycrisp Vodka, Honeycrisp Canned Mule, and Honeycrisp Canned THC Beverage.
To learn more about Beak and Skiff and their honeycrisp products, visit their website.