Contact us

Reporting from:

Cider Research at Cornell

As the land-grant institution in New York, Cornell University is accustomed to performing research and providing education in the field of agriculture - including apples and cider.

Current cider research is very active at Cornell, with multiple professors and their graduate students performing important work. Below is a list of links to resources for exploring the active and published research emerging from the Cornell Hard Cider Project Work Team and the Peck Lab.

Dr. Peck speaking to tour
Dr. Gregory Peck speaks to a tour group at Cornell Orchards.
Cornell Orchards facility
Cornell Orchards facility
Green cider apples on tree
Green cider apples on tree at Cornell Orchards.
Apples in crates, Geneva NY
Apples in crates at the Geneva USDA-ARS facility Geneva, NY.
Robert's Crab juice
Juice harvested from Robert's Crab apples for testing.

Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954), founder and dean of the College of Agriculture (now the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), was no stranger to cider and the agricultural work associated with it. In 1892, shortly after coming to Cornell, Bailey conducted a survey of apple varieties available through nurseries in 40 states; his work was used as a baseline by subsequent researchers (Granville Lowther in 1910 and Robert F. Carlson in 1970) to show how apple cultivars in the U.S. had declined by 90% over the 80 years following. The Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium continues to be the major U.S. center for the systematics of cultivated plants (as well as paleobotany, biodiversity studies, and other systematic studies of plant biology).

Bailey is also thanked in the introduction to The Apples of New York, a study of its namesake by the horticulturalists of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station published in 1905 (the Experiment Station would become part of Cornell University in 1923). The seminal work describes the varieties of apples being grown in New York at the start of the 20th century, with an eye towards their uses and best means of cultivation. A spiritual successor to the Herefordshire Pomona and a point on the path to Dr. Peck's work, Apples notably focuses more on culinary apples than the cider varieties - perhaps already showing the deeper trend of Lowther and Carlson's later work. Original copies of both books are housed in the special collections of Cornell's Albert R. Mann Library, along with many more rare volumes pertaining to apples and other agriculture.