Hardscrabble Cider, a North Salem micro-farm cidery, brings family, fun and good vibes all under one orchard


Hardscrabble Cider was started in North Salem in 2015 by three brothers -- Alex, Kevin and Ben Corvino. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

By Kayla Garritano

Rob Corvino, owner of Hardscrabble farms, purchased Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard with the ambition to put to use 60 acres of apple trees that were originally solely used for “pick your own” apples and sweet, non-alcoholic cider. Meanwhile, Corvino’s sons, Alex, Kevin, and Ben, had been trying to produce their own beer and wine, with not much success.

In 2015 the three brothers took matters into their own hands. With 60 acres of apple trees in their control, their hard cider took home and Hardscrabble Cider was born. Along with the Corvino brothers, manager and cider maker Anthony Sepe has been with the company since 2016, helping to shape Hardscrabble Cider to be as unique and successful as it is today.

Manager and cider maker Anthony Sepe has been with Hardscrabble Cider since 2016. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Hardscrabble Cider's values can be summed up by the Theodore Roosevelt quote, “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” The owners' mission was to produce a hard beverage that captured the “terroir” of the orchard with the use of the orchard’s apples. The cider was meant to be easily enjoyed by visitors both near and far, and in the company of good friends. It’s safe to say that the mission has been accomplished.

Speaking on behalf of the owners and myself, it is truly exciting to see how far we've come in our short life,” Sepe said. “We have established ourselves as a well-known and respected local brand name while sticking to our values and mission. We have created a product that our customers enjoy, and that they can consume on the same grounds where the apples were picked, pressed, and produced into hard cider.”

However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

“In the company's infancy, the struggle was to establish a recipe that would allow us to turn out a consistent product,” Sepe explained. “The fermentation process of apples into cider requires a lot of time, attention to specific details, and tender loving care. It took a lot of trial and error before we were able to really nail down a recipe that could consistently produce the results we were looking for in a finished product.”

Hardscrabble Cider is made on site at Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard in North Salem. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

With perseverance, determination, and dedication, the team pushed through to create perfect recipes that make the cider as delicious as it is today.

But as life would have it, the pandemic threw the business an unexpected curveball.

“Covid was certainly something we weren't anticipating, and it presented its fair share of hurdles,” Sepe said. “We are a company that thrives on on-site retail and events. Not being able to operate to our full potential was a massive blow to our momentum.”

Luckily, thanks to a loyal community, Hardscrabble Cider received an abundance of local support. Their to-go sales were as successful as ever, which helped the business stay strong during this unpredictable time.

As Hardscrabble Cider continues to create numerous types of creative ciders, the team is still inspired to grow as a company and to produce the best possible recipes to enthrall everyone who walks into the orchard.

Hardscrabble Cider continually rotates its cider offerings. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

“Getting to share our product and the orchard it comes from is something truly unique,” shared Sepe. “Also, cider presents itself as such an open canvas that we can continue to experiment with different blends and recipes to produce new and exciting varieties to customers time and again.”

With all their accomplishments, the team is still not done reaching for the stars. As they continue to grow, there are some exciting opportunities on the rise.

“Within the next year, Harvest Moon Orchard and Hardscrabble Cider plan to begin construction on a massive glass greenhouse which will sit adjacent to the farm store.”

The greenhouse will give the company an opportunity to host visitors in a much bigger indoor space that guests can enjoy year-round. It will also open up a much bigger window for events featuring live music and food trucks.

“We love sharing our product and our space with customers, and we will continue to do so with our day-to-day hours, but also unique events and experiences,” Sepe said.

For those looking for a way to snag the array of ciders, you can visit the Hardscrabble Cider bottle shop during their winter hours of Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. When the weather gets warmer, you can expect to see the shop open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 7 days a week.

The Hardscrabble Cider bottle shop is open Thursday through Sunday in the winter and seven days a week in the summer. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Thankfully, the cider is available year-round, in both bottles and on tap. Look out for rotating specialty ciders that change seasonally.

If you can’t make the trip to the cidery, you can find Hardscrabble Cider's drinks at local DeCiccos & Sons markets in Somers and Brewster.

Kayla Garritano is a Westchester-based freelance writer. She frequently writes about travel, food, technology and health & fitness. She never goes a day without smiling.

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