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Fruit and Cider Talk from Calais, Vermont. Maintained by Terry Bradshaw, fruit guy.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

10/3 Cider Apple Harvest at LostMeadow

Alice and I harvested cider fruit from the orchard yesterday. We already picked the Kingston Blacks, 1 box from three trees, on Sep 19, along with the St Edmund's Russet (fraction of a box from one tree). The KB's have a nice balanced and intense flavor, the St Ed's Russets have that pear like russet flavor.
As for the 10/3 pick we looked to the cider trees that were showing the most drop. Picked Nehou and Michelin, two boxes total. I'll save those for a keeved cidre doux. We collected drops from th Dabinetts, maybe 1/2 box and stripped one tree that was maturing early due most likely to borer infestation. Then we picked the Chisel Jersey tree, mainly because the fruit were dropping at the slightest nudge (1 box). This high-tannin bitter tastes just like a tea bag, perfect for addition to a low-tannin cider. Next were the Sweet Alfords, one box from two Bud 9 trees. These Alfords have a mild cider apple flavor; not too high in tannin (although it's there), and low in acid. I think they would make a very nice cider mixed 1:1 with Liberty.
Then we snacked on a Sweet 16, nice flavor with hints of vanilla, and an Egremont Russet, low yielding miserable tree habit, fruit has a nice balanced acid/sugar flavor.

Oh, and 10/3 is Ira "Schiffer" Chamber's birthday. Went to school with him and haven't seen him since, but I have a weird knack for remembering the birthdays of people from elementary school. Full Steam Ahead!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Oysters and cider

This past weekend I had a visitor/customer, Rowan Jacobsen, another Calais resident. This is a funny town I live in; there are still a pretty good number of old-school Vermonters, as well as plenty of new transplants of the past 35 years to now. Being so close to the capitol, as well as in a fairly artistic community, many of these folks, natives and newcomers alike, tend to develop interests and talents that are pretty unique. I guess my little cider operation is a good case in point.
So Rowan came by for some hard cider fixin's. As often happens talk came to my cider, which I informed him wasn't for sale. "You like oysters?" he asked. Turns out Rowan, a young guy about my age, is quite the expert on oysters, and even wrote an excellent book on the subject (The Geography of Oysters). Packed away in a cooler in his car, just drop-shipped from an oyster farmer in Rhode Island, were three varieties of these little bivalves, fresh and ready for snacking. So cider was poured, shucking knife whipped out, and a nice little raw bar set up on the hood of his Subaru in my driveway. Now I'm no expert on oysters, and had only snacked on them once before, but it was really cool to have such a delicacy offered up. Thanks Rowan!

Rowan's website ( is an excellent starting point to learn about these creattures. Or better yet, buy the book!