For the past eight years, Fishkill Farms owner Josh Morgenthau has carefully (and quietly) made his own small-batch hard cider out of nothing more than passion. “Cider making, to me, has always been captivating,” Morgenthau says. “There’s an incredible amount of history and tradition wrapped up in it. When I made my first batch back in 2008, I realized I had something special.”
In September 2016, Morgenthau moved headlong into the local craft beverage scene with Fishkill Farm’s first cider release, Treasury Cider. More than 30 varieties of apples from the farm’s orchard—including Ashmead’s Kernel, a rarely grown variety—are used to create four distinct flavors: a lightly sweet and sparkling semi-dry; a sparkling dry with floral and fruit aromas; a dry, non-sparkling heirloom blend (reminiscent of white wine); and an unfiltered, bottle-fermented dry. “The plan is to stick with those four and let each season’s harvests express themselves within,” Morgenthau says.
Cider production opens a new chapter for the farm, but it also pays homage to its 100-year history. Morgenthau’s grandfather, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., started the orchard in 1914. He later went on to a career of public service, most notably serving as Secretary of the Treasury for 11 out of the 12 years of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency. “My grandfather, having such an impact on the family farm and in history, was who I was thinking about with this cider,” Morgenthau admits. “Naming it ‘Treasury’ was an homage to him, and also, in a non-financial sense, to the ‘treasury’ that is the orchard and the cider house’s storeroom that holds all the abundance of a year’s harvest.”
Currently, apples are picked and pressed on the farm, then transported to Slyboro Cider House in Granville (Washington County) for fermentation and production, though there are plans to build an on-farm cidery. “We have an old stone foundation from a barn that is going to be a perfect place for it,” Morgenthau says.