November 2016 20 Questions: The fruits of family

For Burrville’s Steiners, lasting success comes down to good genes


steiner1For the past 21 seasons, something special has happened in Burrville that involves one close-knit family and lot of apples. It’s where apple cider and doughnuts are happily married and old traditions continue while new ones are born. For legions of north country residents, autumn wouldn’t be autumn without a few sips of nature’s sweetness at Burrville Cider Mill. We sit down this month with Tina L. Steiner, the matriarch of the current generation of Steiners who, since 1996, have owned and operated the mill.

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Burrville Cider Mill battling increased apple prices

Tina Steiner holds half-gallon jugs of cider at the Burrville Cider Mill. Because of a shortage of apples that has driven prices up, the mill will sell only half-gallon jugs this season. Photo by Amanda Morrison.

Refrigerator shelves at the Burrville Cider Mill still will be stocked with freshly pressed apple cider this season— but only half gallons with a higher price tag.

Thanks to the skyrocketing price of apples, the family-owned cider mill will sell only half gallons of cider this year at $4.89 apiece, up about 25 percent from last year’s $3.25. Owner Cynthia L. Steiner, who passed out letters to customers defending the price hike, said apple prices at orchards in the state are up 200 to 300 percent from last year because of the drought. Orchards that have had their crops ravaged anywhere from 50 to 90 percent have been compelled to pass on high prices to stores and cider mills to break even.

Because of those high apple prices caused by a crop shortage, Mrs. Steiner said, the mill would have been compelled to sell gallons of cider at about $10. Doing so could have scared off customers, she said, or spoiled gallons of cider sitting unpurchased for too long.

“It kills us to do this,” she said. “But this is the only way we’re going to stay open.”