Wisconsin Cider Month started out as Wisconsin Cider Week in 2016 as a way to promote drinking fresh and hard cider. It was part of a project spearheaded by the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association (WAGA) and managed by Herdie Baisden, Maiden Rock Apples, Winery & Cidery, to bring Wisconsin apple growers together with fresh and hard cidermakers to increase the competitiveness of all by expanding the market for apples less suitable for the fresh market, adding a market for true cider apples, and meeting the needs of Wisconsin’s rapidly growing fresh and hard cider industry.
A survey of apple growers was conducted and cataloged on the WAGA website (http://www.waga.org/cider) to identify who produces cider in Wisconsin, what “cider” varieties they grow, orchards with fresh cider – both unpasteurized and pasteurized; and cideries with hard cider. It is hoped that Wisconsin Cider Month will become an annual tradition that celebrates the contributions the apple industry is making to the State of Wisconsin and beyond.
Wisconsin Cider Month is a great way to start the fall with healthy, nutrient-rich drinks. The U.S. Apple Association offers 12 proven ways apples and apple products positively impact health, “from head to toe, from the inside out, and through every stage of life” – including lowering LDL cholesterol, improving digestive health, replacing daily statin use by cardiac patients, supporting respiratory health, promoting heart health, strengthening bone health, delivering a dose of vitamin C, protecting brain cells, strengthening muscles, reducing asthma symptoms, lowering the risk of certain types of cancers, and helping to maintain optimal weight (http://usapple.org/usapple-lists-top-health-benefits-of-apples-during-national-nutrition-month/)
While a glass of fresh apple cider cannot guarantee good health, it is an excellent source of potassium and iron. Apple cider supports weight management because it is usually pure and natural with no sugar added. Typically an 8-ounce glass of fresh apple cider has only 120 calories. Of course, fresh apple cider -- like other juices, fruits and vegetables -- contains no cholesterol and is gluten-free.
Well-made hard cider offers the same health benefits as fresh juice. Hard cider is loaded with vitamin C and contains a number of antioxidants. In fact, there is some research support that there are more antioxidants in hard cider than in green or black tea or vegetables like tomatoes. These are just a few of the reasons that you should celebrate Wisconsin cider, not just in October, but all year long.