Anyone for a kale-infused cider? Well, that’s just one of the experimental blends Hardscrabble Cider might be serving at its rustic tasting room this fall. “Everyone’s trying to talk me out of it though,” admits Alex Covino, who opened the cidery and tasting room in 2015, with brothers Kevin and Ben at the Covino family-owned Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem. Perhaps they should trust his instincts. The place has become a popular hang (sometimes SRO), offering hard ciders and local craft beers on tap, along with a well-curated selection of New York State spirits and wine bottles for sale. Credit also the welcoming farm-industrial décor, featuring barn-wood reclaimed by the brothers from land they own upstate.
While the bar area is small, it opens onto a patio, where guests can enjoy the view; on Saturday evenings, it serves as the setting for live music and wood-fired pizza. (Bands will play until the weather turns too cold, likely later this month.) Open for business all week, the tasting room is manned by a cider somm (of sorts) from Wednesday through Sunday, to guide sampling of Hardscrabble standards such as Cranberry and Dry, as well as limited “test-runs” (think jalapeño cucumber and peach parsley). This fall, look for lemon ginger and a Black Dirt beet blend made with beets from New York’s eponymous region in Orange County. “People love to enjoy our cider on the land where it was produced,” says Covino of Hardscrabble’s popularity. “Sometimes the chickens walk by… it’s very cool.”
(Fall’s apple- and pumpkin-picking frenzy takes over Harvest Moon Farm at various times during this month. Covino recommends checking Hardscrabble Cider’s Facebook and Instagram pages for the tasting room’s schedule before visiting.)