Santa Fe, NM – Santa Sidra Hard Cider was among the groups presented with a Sustainable Santa Fe Award this week by the City of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce. The Sustainable Santa Fe Awards program recognizes model sustainability projects that are helping Santa Fe reduce its ecological footprint, mitigate carbon emissions and build resilience in the face of climate change. Santa Sidra Hard Cider won its sustainability award for Food System Adaptation.
In 2014 Santa Sidra Hard Cider, a Santa Fe-based company, began producing 100% of their award-winning, hand-crafted hard ciders from 25 tons of “rescued” apples purchased from New Mexico growers. These were apples that would have been left in the orchard to rot because they were blemished, too small or otherwise unfit for sale at local stores or farmers markets. This new income stream for local farmers, which totaled more than $25,000 on 2014, helps keep our local farms alive, preserves New Mexico’s unique agricultural heritage, keeps money in our local economy and creates local jobs.
About his reasons for using local apples to make Santa Sidra, Mike Zercher, owner and cidermaker, commented, “New Mexico had an enormous apple growing industry at one time and many of those orchards are still around. Because we lie so far south, we were first to market each year, and New Mexico apples would be sold as far away as Chicago and California. However over the years new storage technologies and industrialization concentrated the apple growing industry into just a few US states like Washington and a few foreign countries like China. Because of this our local family farmers don’t have a market for most of the apples that still grow in their old orchards. Many growers have told me they’ve left as many as two-thirds of their apples on the trees in past years because they had no one to buy them. I decided I could help our local family farmers and also do my small part in reducing global warming by creating an entirely new, sustainable and scalable market for these local apples by making hard cider here in New Mexico.”
Asked about the quality of New Mexico’s apples for making hard cider, Zercher says, “Cider is like wine except it’s made from apples instead of grapes, and apples have their own terroir just like grapes. New Mexico apples make excellent hard cider because they come from high desert orchards. They grow at high altitudes in mineral-rich volcanic soils, get abundant sunshine, hot days and cool nights, and are watered by our historical and unique irrigation system of acequias. All of this results in ciders with amazing flavors and aromas.”
The Sustainable Santa Fe Awards were presented by NM State Senator Peter Wirth on April 8th at a gala sponsored by the City of Santa Fe’s Sustainable Santa Fe Commission, the Green Chamber of Commerce, Earth Care, the Green Fire Times; and hosted by Green Drinks, La Fonda Hotel and Horizons Sustainable Financial Services.
As reported on TIME.com last year cider is the fastest growing alcoholic beverage category in the US, and according to Nate Silver’s blog, FiveThirtyEight, cider is expected to be a $1 billion market within the next few years.
Locally-sourced, locally-made and locally-distributed, Santa Sidra is a premium hard cider hand-crafted in Santa Fe, New Mexico by husband and wife team, Mike and Stacy Zercher. To learn more about Santa Sidra please visit www.santasidra.com or call 505-424-6122.