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

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cider Day!!

For those in the area, check out Cider Day in Colrain, MA on November 1 and 2 this year.  It's a great event for all things cider.  For more information go to

Heirloom Fruit Workshop

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008
9 a.m - 7 p.m.
Old Sturbridge Village, Mass.

Dear Fruit Growers, Chefs and Food Historians of Massachusetts,

You are invited to attend a workshop on rediscovering forgotten heirloom fruits and restoring historic orchards in Massachusetts. The workshop will take place on November 1, 2008 beginning at 9:00 am at Old Sturbridge Village, with a visit to a local orchard in the afternoon, followed by an heirloom apple tasting event. Co-sponsored by the Renewing America's Food Traditions (RAFT) Alliance and hosted by Old Sturbridge Village, it will feature two heirloom fruit conservationists from Arizona, Kanin Routson and Gary Nabhan, in addition to local experts. The goal of RAFT is to safeguard foods currently at risk in the landscape, and bring a greater diversity of these back to our tables. In the morning, the workshop will highlight the historic loss of fruit diversity; reasons for still maintaining heirlooms; how to begin to identify "unnamed" varieties found in abandoned orchards; historic orchard restoration; and establishing a regional directory of sources of historic scion wood. After lunch, we will journey to an abandoned orchard in Rutland, returning to Old Sturbridge Village for an heirloom apple tasting event. A $25 fee per person includes the costs of materials and lunch. Reservations may be made by contacting Old Sturbridge Village at and must be made by October 22, 2008. We look forward to your involvement; please call Gary Nabhan at 928-225-0293 or email him at if you have questions.

Thank you,
Gary, Suzanne, Christie, Jenny and Leigh

Managed by Slow Food USA, RAFT is an alliance of food, farming, environmental and culinary advocates who have joined together to identify, restore and celebrate America’s biologically and culturally diverse food traditions through conservation, education, promotion and regional networking.

Founding RAFT partners: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University, Chefs Collaborative, The Cultural Conservancy, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Seed Savers Exchange and Slow Food USA

For more information about RAFT visit

Simple Steps to a Great Dry Hard Cider:

1.        Use the best juice possible.  A blend of high-tannin cider fruits from wild apples, European bittersweets, or some crabapples, mixed with a balanced juice apple like Liberty, Golden Russet, Gala, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy will give a fermenting ‘must’ with good fermentation characteristics.  If possible use fruit from low-fertility soils or trees without excess soluble nitrogen.  Our cider blends offer these characteristics.

2.        Press on a clean press with wooden racks, preferably cultured for a good wild yeast population.

3.        Transfer to a sanitized carboy, filling to just  below the shoulder.

4.        Treat the juice with 50 ppm sulfite to limit growth of wild bacteria.

5.        Place the fermenter in a cool area, preferably <60°F.  Primary fermentation should begin within a few days.  Using wild yeasts you will not tend to get the vigorous foaming found in a cultured yeast ferment, but some froth will be evident. Yopu may want to attach a blowoff tube to the airlock or even leave the fermenter open with a bit of cheesecloth over the top to prevent bugs from getting in. A secondary container such as a bathtub will allow easy cleanup if it does ‘puke out’ a little bit. 

6.        After the initial froth subsides, top up the carboy to the neck with fresh cider and attach the airlock.  Make sure the water level is kept up.  For an extra degree of safety a sulfite solution or even vodka can be used in the airlock. Keep the fermenter cool, preferably <50°F.

7.        Let her sit for 2-3 months.  Rack off the lees in midwinter if desired.  Then let her sit some more.

8.        Bottle or keg in late winter or early spring.  Or let her sit until summer. For a sparkling cider prime with ½ cup cane sugar at bottling time and crown cap.  Let the bottles warm to 65-70°F for a day or two, then return to a cool spot for conditioning.

9.        Enjoy.  When coming for next year’s cider, be sure to bring a sample to swap.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Scott Farm cider apples

Passing this email on at the request of Zeke, a grower of really interesting apples just outside Brattleboro, VT:

Terry, we have a very good supply of Kingston Black along with several other American and English apples well suited for hard cider if you could pass the word along.
Our price would be $14/bu, $12 for American and some of the other French and English varieties.
Contact Scott Farm at or 802 254 6868. Thanks and good luck with the season.
Zeke Goodband