|In the orchard…We are wrapping up the 2020 harvest with our final apple pressing this weekend. This means one last time for the sheep to get their favorite treat, pomace. There it is, all of the growing season distilled into two things, the pomace for our sheep and the cider for you! And now the orchard moves to slumber, read more in our Notes from the Makers section.|
|At the table…We had the pleasure earlier this month to participate as the opening evening cider taste and lecture event for an old friend’s wonderful virtual knitting retreat . We had so much fun! And were really blown away by the generosity and engagement of the knitting community. You can watch the retreat host, Laura Nelkin aka Lola of Nelkin Designs walk you through a truly fantabulous cooking demo for Polenta and Butternut Squash that pairs exquisitely with cider. Enjoy!!! We sure did. Find the full recipe here. Photo above courtesy Nelkin Designs Blog.|
|Tastings, Talks and more…. one plus to so much going remote is how accessible things have now become for so many folks for whom travel was prohibitive. And now we can really get a chance to connect with everyone! We haven’t held any in person tastings or tours this year but feel like we still are able to have a surprisingly intimate sharing of our ciders and orchards through these great(though when done by us, somewhat clumsy …we’re getting better though!) videos. And this year’s Finger Lakes Cider Week was no exception…wow! So many great conversations and all available to experience at your leisure. Spend an afternoon with us…yay! Check them all out here.|
|Notes from the Makers…|
Hello friends! First we want to send a heartfelt hug to all who have suffered loss, anxiety, uncertainty during this year. We hope you find peace in your future. It’s been and continues to be a year and time of individual and collective change. In our little world amongst our small orchard and cidery we feel fortunate to have had a modest crop and cider now quietly resting in barrels and tanks. Our 2020 harvest was small, about a 50% crop for us but the quality will likely show to be the best in years. The year started with some unusually cold nights at the beginning of bud development. As the flowers started to show their petals to the world we had multiple nights in the lower 20’s. Followed by a drought for most of the summer, this created a small crop of small apples which to a cider maker interested in harvesting flavor and intensity was incredible but as far as filling the tanks, not so good.
Our trees are now dormant for the winter. They have dropped their leaves and will rest amongst the blowing snow, frozen ground and the crystal clear starry nights. During the day they may be visited briefly by a chickadee or nuthatch searching for that lost apple seed in the crook of a branch or a small piece of frozen apple skin hidden on the trunk. And the roots which make up half the structure of the tree will be sleeping down in the soil. It’s pleasing on a cold winter day to think that somewhere down there in the soil, maybe 4 feet down the roots are sleeping amongst 50 degree unfrozen earth maybe that’s where they plan for the next season as we do next to our woodstove.
In the cidery we will start to evaluate the ciders from this year and work with blending and the artistic side of the process. We are so excited for this and bringing these ciders into fruition. There is less urgency of timing in the cidery unlike in the orchard during the growing season. We make our own schedule and focus on planning out the timeline of the process. This only ends when spring hits….too early every year, and we are forced urgently back into the orchard.
As usual this year in addition to our own biodynamic managed orchards we partnered with a few amazing small organic orchards in our area Treegate Farm, Hammerstone orchard and Freer orchard. And we are very happy to have met John and AJ of Wild Heart Orchard who recently purchased an amazing stand of wild apple trees. With their help and hard work this fruit is now aging quietly in our cidery and we are excited for what it will become.With all this we are excited to be producing our 10th commercial harvest of ciders, and we are so honored to be a part of our local vibrant food system, a community who embraces change and supports one another especially during difficult times. Sometimes it helps to remember the world is cyclical. The natural rhythms of the earth and the planets ride a wave. In an orchard setting small crops are followed with big crops.
eric and deva
|Our newest release, Kingston Black…going out in early December to cider club members. Find out how you can become a member…and if you are a member, be on the lookout for an email coming your way tomorrow! woohooooo!|
|Reparations As many of you know, since August of last year, a dollar from each bottle you purchase of Redbyrd Orchard Cider makes its way to Soul Fire Farm and Ganondagan. It is our way of standing in solidarity with some of the farmers of color and indigenous people of our region. We just sent those checks out in the mail today. And we want to thank you all for buying cider and allowing us to keep this whole thing that is Redbyrd going. We have a new offering for this holiday season in collaboration with two of our dear cidermaking colleagues and friends, Open Spaces Cider and Eve’s Cidery, that partners with Quarter Acre for The People….we’re calling it The Holiday Reparations Cider Pack and we’d love to have you find out more here. Sign up ends Dec. 5.|
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Categories: nys hard cider