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Understanding the
Underappreciated but

Knip Boom Process

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Table of Contents
Introduction 2
History of Apple Production and Hard Cider 3
Introducing Knip Boom 4
Fast Facts 5
Why Knip Boom with Hostetler 6
What This Means for Your Farm 8
Conclusion 14
Sources  18 2 / 15
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The Return of the Old and What it Means for You

T is the great circle of life, as the great ruler Mufasa once

said, and it is. Where things used to go out of fashion
or disappear from the publics eye seemingly forever, brin-
ging back old trends seems to be the new trend.

P icture this: 19th Century Americaan older man with

a long, bushy beard drinks his favorite brew at the end
of a long day working in his orchard. The drink? Hard cider.
With orchards producing part of their income, and their fa-
milys favorite hard cider present at every meal, apples were
thewell, apple of this American familys eye.

F ast forward two hundred years, past the downfall of ci-

der, when prohibition chopped down this historical be-
verage, to a few years agothe start of this new trend. Youll
see young men with long, bushy beards drink hard cider,
their favorite brew, at the end of a long day of sitting in ca-
fs, questioning the meaning of life. Now, cider is no longer
only the product of farmers, nostalgic small-towns people,
and apple festivals. It is absolutely everywhere. Welcome to
the hard cider revolution! But waittheres one small issue
with this great comeback. 3 / 15
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The Core Issue and Proposed Solution

We are consuming more apples than were producing. Now, dont let
me be planting apple seeds of doubt in your mindthe market for hard cider is on
a steady rise and can stay that way, but for apple farmers and those interested in the
hard cider industry, this is an issue that must be addressed now. With any great revo-
lution, there can be casualties, but if we get ahead of this craze and utilize the mar-
ket of hard cider for all that its worththen we can be a part of something truly
great. But we need more apples.
Many have not heard of the Knip Boom process. Developed in Europe with
very little attention given to it in the United States, at Hostetler Farms, we utilize
this technique with fantastic results. Now, we want to share some information abo-
ut the process. Hard cider has a long history in this country and is making a strong
come-back, meaning the industry is in need of more cider trees, which we produce
at Hostetler Farms.
We will go over hard ciders history and return, as well as why theKnip Boom
process is needed, and what the benefits of utilizing the process are. Along with
general information on the Knip Boom process, we will also explain the benefits
of purchasing your trees through Hostetler Farms by going over some information
covering how we grow our trees. There is also a Fun Fast Facts section with other
interesting and helpful information for those who are interested in the apple tree or
hard cider industry. 4 / 15
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A Quick History of Apple Production

And Hard Cider

Hard Ciders Comeback

Hard Cider is by no means a

modern drink, but it is being celebra-
ted and shown off now more than it
has in a long time. Cider has a place
everywhere and is for everyone. It is
gluten free, traditional, a home-town
stapleand because of all three of
those, a millennial, hipster staple as Throughout the centuries,
well. While hard cider is being ap- hard cider has been in high demand
preciated now for its delicious and both for flavor and practicality. In
diverse flavors, hard cider has been colonial times, apple trees were
a beloved drink throughout history. imported from England and hard
According to the New York Post, hard cider was extremely desired for ca-
cider was Americas favorite alcoholic sual drinking and simply as a source
drink up to Prohibition and is cur- of hydration; it was much safer to
rently becoming hugely popular once drink hard cider than water in most
more. Its been the fastest growing places during that time.
beverage in the liquor industry conti-
nuously for the last few years. 5 / 15
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Johnny Apple-Cider
Apple trees have a rich history in our culture, and many are told
the story of Johnny Appleseed as children. Johnny Appleseed is often
depicted as a nearly elf-like, nomadic person from the 18th and 19th
century, tossing around apple seeds to help the struggling frontier-
smen. However, he was a far more strategic historical figure than most
people think. He brought seeds west with him from Pennsylvania cider
presses. John Chapmanas he was formally knownwas a horticul-
turalist, and through his expertise, he helped the westward expansion
by growing and developing apple orchards for the highly needed hard
cider they would create. Traveling ahead of most colonizers, he would
sell the orchards he grew to those following in his path, and they wo-
uld settle around it.

Hard cider, not simply apples as many assume, were the goal of
Johnny Appleseed. His work was influential and did, indeed, have a
large impact on the development of the west. He would later die aro-
und two and a half hours away from Hostetler Farms, in Fort Wayne,
Indiana. 6 / 15
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Growth of the Knip Boom Process

In order to help develop and keep up with the current cider
craze, The Knip Boom process is enabling the hard cider industry
to grow as efficiently as possible. The process began in the Ne-
therlands in the 1980s and completely revolutionized the world of
apple tree growth and harvesting. Many experiments made it clear
that Knip Boom trees should definitely be sought for higher quality
fruit production. While its been growing in use throughout Euro-
pe, it is still catching on as a trend in the United States. However,
Hostetler Farmin 2012started its apple tree farming and has
made the ground-breaking Knip Boom process a staple of its bu-
siness, to produce the most high-quality apples to help assist and
continue the time-honored and valuable tradition of apple cider
production. 7 / 15
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Introducing Knip Boom

Why is Knip Boom Needed

Hard Ciders sudden and incredible resurrection is amazing to behold,

as Americas #1 household drink had nearly faded completely from the map
after prohibition. However, one issue follows in the wake of this come-back:
a lack of apples. The central figures in the production of hard cider are
obviously apples, and there are simply not enough. According to Modern
Farmer, the executive director of the Northwest Cider Association, Sherrye
Wyatte, says growth in sales has been incredible. Theyre not doubling or
tripling salesits thousands-of-percent increases.

While hard apple cider production is booming, and there is clearly a

strong market for it, there needs to be a consistent production of apples to
go along with it. It is easy to wonder how it could be possible that there is
an apple shortage. There is a multitude of different kinds of apples in every
grocery store, and even in many peoples yards. Arent apples everywhere?
The answer is yes, but not the right kind. Apple cider needs to be made with
a very specific type of apple that is not as easily found. These apples have a
very high concentration of sugar in order to ferment appropriately. They ta-
ste terrible when eaten by themselves and are even referred to as spitters. 8 / 15
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Yes, apples are everywhere. However, even though everyone sho-

uld be eating an apple a day to keep the doctors away, apples for con-
sumption as fruit are not what is needed right now. The cider industry
needs high quality cider apples. They need a lot of them and they
need them now. That is why the Knip Boom process is the perfect so-

How Does Knip Boom


In order to increase the prospective apple production of an apple tree,

the Knip Boom process involves cutting the tree at an optimal time in its deve-
lopment. The process produces what we call a 3-2-1 tree: a three-year-old root
system, a two-year-old trunk, and one-year-old feathers (side-branches). The
process takes time and devotion, so what are the benefits? Well, the benefits are
numerous. For one, the tree comes into production sooner and produces 80%
more apples in its first year of production and 20% more in its first five years.
That is no small number. Trees that undergo the Knip Boom technique are
healthier, have a better chance of surviving transplant, they produce more fru-
it, and they produce it faster. In order to keep up with this hard cider revival, a
more efficient way to produce cider apples has been needed, and that can easi-
ly be found in the Knip Boom process. 9 / 15
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Now that our information has you all juiced to get to work on the farm,
we thought wed throw in some addition fun Fast Facts for you to enjoy!

A) According to CBS News, hard cider is considered to be heal-

thier than other alcoholic beverages as its mostly natural and gluten-free.
B) According to Michigan State University Extension (MSU
Extension,) if you were looking for people to blame for the decrease in
attention to hard cider that began in the 19th century, it would be the
Germans. When more Germans began to immigrate to the United Sta-
tes, they brought with them beer, and sparked a new American obsession.
C) While many refer to hard cider as being a drink from as far
back as colonial times, hard cider is actually way, way older than that
and can be traced to Biblical times.
D) MSU Extension provides another interesting fact, stating that
in the late 17th century, New England was producing hundreds of tho-
usands of gallons of hard cider per year.
E) Bon Apptit, a Cond Nast publication, explains that the
word cider likely developed from the Old Testament. Beginning as He-
brews shekhar, which translated to strong drink, the word changed
as the Old Testament was translated in Greek to Latin and eventually the
word adapted from sicera to cisdre of old French and eventually be-
came cidre. 10 / 15
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Why Knip Boom with Hostetler

There are a number of reasons why the Knip Boom technique is

the way to go. The process is by no means easy at first, but at Hostetler
Farms, we do the hard part and you simply harvest the benefits.

Grown Without Fertilizers Highly Feathered

While this cant be said for eve- The more feathers, the higher you can
ry farm that grows apple trees, fly...especially in apple production. In
at least at Hostetler, water is the order to attain a strong and early yield
only thing we give our treesbe- in production, a highly feathered tree
-cides, of course, love, attention, is necessary.
bed-time stories, etc. Fertilizer Growing a tree with feathers may cost
may seem beneficial to a baby ci- more initially, but will reap significant
der apple tree in the nursery, but return on investment in the long run.
when its transplanted, the tree With the potential to make up their
struggles to adapt and grow. With initial cost multiple times over if taken
healthy Indiana soil and lots of care of, growing trees with feathers
water, fertilizer is not needed and is a strong, worthwhile investment.
would likely prove more harmful The Knip Boom practice nearly gu-
than helpful. arantees that a highly feathered apple
tree will yield a quick, gorgeous crop
to produce the best cider. Now that is
worth a feather in your cap. 11 / 15
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Straight Steel Stakes

Now say that ten times over. Instead of using common but flimsy
bamboo stakes to keep our trees growing straight, we use steel stakes.
This serves two critical purposes. 1) Our trees grow straight and strong
from the start. For two years, our trees are kept on a steady and healthy
path of growth. And without the possibility of the stakes breaking, it is
guaranteed that our trees have the most attractive posture around. 2)
Those working or living nearby our farm know where to go in case of a
devastating vampire apocalypse. Unless zombies are deterred by apple
trees, in the case of a zombie apocalypse, do not come to Hostetler Farms
for assistance.

Why You Should Apple-y the Knip Boom Process

The benefits of buying trees that were grown with the Knip Boom
technique or utilizing it yourself are clear. The Knip Boom process ena-
bles trees to do better after transplantation so that they have a much higher
chance of survival and of producing a good, healthy crop. Trees will also
require less labor and attention after being planted. Trees will produce fruit
much sooner and they produce more. As mentioned above, over a one year
whip, Knip Boom trees produce over 80% more fruit during the first year of
production and 20% more after the first five years.
In general, there really is no downside to the Knip Boom process. The trees
are healthier, produce a higher quantity of better quality fruit, andif ta-
ken care of properlythey will return any costs spent on them many times
over. 12 / 15
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What this Means for Your Farm

With this technique, you can increase production by a lot, and

its easy as pieapple pie that is! Too much?
Looking at the numbersas stated earlier, we can increase yield
dramatically within the first year of production and the first few
years after as well. Now, every orchard can be dramatically diffe-
rent, so even if the number I show you dont look like what youre
going to be working with, observe the increase in the numbers and
try to apply them to what your imagined yield would be.
If you had approximately 400 trees per acre, the estimated
yield for an average tree would be approximately 15 bushels per
acre. If it was with a Knip Boom tree, that 15 would become 92.
Five years after the first year of production, youve produced a to-
tal of 1725 bushels an acre with an average tree, but 2,070 bushels
with a Knip Boom tree. The math is clear. 13 / 15
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Hard cider has been a drink of choice for potentially thousands
of years. As a classic reminder of our rustic, beautiful American he-
ritage, the comeback of cider is extremely exciting. From Johnny Ap-
pleseed, to current millennials, hard cider has a place everywhere and
with everyone. However, if you want to jump into this market, you
need to do it smartlyto succeed and to stand out against competi-
tion. It is a great time to work in the cider production industry, but
theres a lot of work to do and a lot of strategizing will be required.

It is clear that the European-born technique of Knip Boom is a

fantastic way to boost the amount and quality of apple production.
We at Hostetler Farms utilize this process with great results. Whether
you want to try this process yourself, or work through us to develop the
apple orchard youve always dreamed of, we wish you greatest of luck.

Cheers! 14 / 15