A new study by researchers at Washington State University shows that mechanical harvesting of cider apples can provide labor and cost savings without affecting fruit, juice or cider quality. The 2014 study, published in the journal HortTechnology, is focused on cider apple production in Washington State. It was conducted in response to growing demand for hard cider apples in the state and nation. Hard cider consumption is trending steeply upward in regions surrounding food-conscious cities, and Washington is part of the nation’s hard cider revival. The amount of cider produced in the state tripled between 2007 and 2012.