Cider

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    Week 37’17, Orchard Cider Year

    Aug. 19 OUTDOORS  Long time no blog – hope you missed us! Pictured: one of our ‘pollinator patches,” which  bloom all summer but blaze in August. They support our precious bug and bird allies (hummingbirds pollinate). Everybody: turn up half the lawn & grow flowers  to feed & shelter the bees/wasps/flies/beetles that make fruit & […]

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    Week 22, Orchard Cider Year

    May 19,’17 OUTDOORS: It’s mid-bloom here, with too many gorgeous scenes to choose from.  Here’s one glamor shot of one non-bee at work. It’s a Red Admiral. Dollars to donuts this Admiral is female like most of the billion bugs busy transforming flowers into our apple crop. Last year’s OCY Week 21 was informative AND […]

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    Week 20 ’17, Orchard Cider Year

    May 3’17, OUTDOORS: Here are hurryup Wickson and go-slow Yarlington Mill under a changeable sky.  (Wickson was bred for cider in California, Yarlington in England. They originated six-plus thousand miles  and many years apart. Wonderful that they both prosper here.)   Months from now, their juices may meet up in FH fermentation batches marked “Wick-YM.” Fingers […]

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    Week 9 ’17, Orchard Cider Year

    February 27 ’17, OUTDOORS: Clockwise, see Steve and Fitz admiring future rows of Ellis Bitter, Major, and Somerset Redstreak in the wide open spaces of Three Below the Barn (where once grew gorgeous wholesale McIntosh & Cortland, which long ago stopped earning their keep up here.) They measure. They discuss. We can’t see that bittersweet […]

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    Week 8 ’17, Orchard Cider Year

    February 22, OUTDOORS:  Last week’s fluffy snow has collapsed but still covers the ground. Fitz is back to pruning! His back went out, but now it’s in! There’s a pruning video HERE for anyone who’d like to see him in action. Throughout #orchardcideryear ’16 he shows up in dozens of posts – not to mention […]

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    Week 7 ’17, Orchard Cider Year

    February 15, INDOORS: Jeff, Wanda, Ben & Ryan, prepared to bottle Semi-Dry: machines lined up, first sparged bottles inverted into the turntable, counterpressure filler rinsed out with cider, corks & wire hoods loaded in the corker, music turned up, and – ten little seconds sacrificed for a blog photo. Because faces don’t show once the […]

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    Week 6 ’17, Orchard Cider Year

    February 7, ’17 OUTDOORS: So here comes a reality-check on the nice neatnik look in the lower pic.  Our first ack-it-broke-down-we-need-it-working-NOW responder is Jacques. Hence, when he observes that scattered cuttings beat up our machines much less than  tidy ones, and the whole job will go more smoothly this Spring if we let the nice […]

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    Week 5 ’17, Orchard Cider Year

    February 2, OUTDOORS:  Fallen cuttings behind Jacques, row after row, day after day. He looks small but the wood falls! These gray photos misrepresent today’s nice pearly light. Fitz is on hiatus, will be back in three weeks. (Fitz immediately centers up his cuttings for the chopper, leaving tidy lines.  See Week 18,  #orchardcideryear  ’16. […]

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    Week 4 ’17 Orchard Cider Year

    January 23 OUTDOORS: Down in the summer pick-your-own field, the invisible star of Jeff’s 2017 raspberry pruning is: a new hip!  Which works way better than the worn-out one. Otherwise not much is different except he got into the raspberries a month earlier than last year, and also clouds not sunshine set the palette of […]

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    Week 3 ’17 Orchard Cider Year

    Martin Luther King Day ’17, OUTDOORS:  No Week 1 or 2 OCY posts in 2017 because we took a staycation and a vacation.  But Jacques went out pruning that whole time, weather permitting.  Last year, he, Harry & Otis started with pole saws in big trees (small photo.) This January Jacques alone started in  dwarf […]

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    Week 52, Orchard Cider Year

    December 29, INDOORS: It’s all bright steel & loud bubbles in here, yeast busily fermenting cider without attention from people. For all our year-rounders, this is the idlest week of an #orchardcideryear. Only Brenda, who snapped the scene, came in today.  And yes, we skipped any Week 51 post, just because. But Brenda put a […]

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    Week 49, Orchard Cider Year

    December 12, OUTDOORS: Dabinett trees snug in a winter slumberland, not one gleam or sparkle in the new snow this grey AM.  It’s hard to tell when trees have reached full dormancy but they’re close.  Newton takes another approach: roll in, wriggle in, plow face into powder.  Happy group shot.       December 13, INDOORS: […]

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    Week 48, Orchard Cider Year

    December 7, OUTDOORS: So it’s our Jacques and our Steve with  Shacksbury’s Colin and Shacksbury’s David, standing still for the pic but thinking about the stuck forklift over to their right.  That little orange machine was supposed to load David & Colin’s trailer with bins of spectacular cider apples heading from here into their cider.  […]

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    Week 47, Orchard Cider Year

    November 29, OUTDOORS: November is the cloudiest, darkest month around here. But pearl-diamond hybrids hang all over the orchards. Trees move quietly into full dormancy in the next several weeks. We’re starting to beg out loud for a solidly cold snowy winter that lasts till March. And a slow spring.     November 29, INDOORS: […]

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    Week 46, Orchard Cider Year

    November 16, INDOORS: More pressing pressing pressing pressing. These days Jacques is making small high-acid fermentation batches of one or two varieties each. (Here, 100% Esopus Spitzenberg.)  After dark the press-room fills with fog during hot-water cleanup.     November 16, OUTDOORS: This year our Dabinett abounded, unlike most other varieties here. So say hi […]

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    Week 44, Orchard Cider Year

    November 3, OUTDOORS: Last day of apple harvest! Finding the crew by following wagon tracks across ground-frost, hearing fast&gentle thumping of apples scooped into buckets, spotting guys powering through the last odds & ends, snapping pics & getting out of the way!  There are field chores left to do but maybe a week left before […]

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    Week 43, Orchard Cider Year

    October 24, OUTDOORS: Here’s William demo-ing a shaker-pole.  But the bucket for picking up what comes down is  back in the barn. Today is all shaking, fast as the crew can move.  A possible hard freeze is predicted for tonight – low 20’sF.  The slow-cooling ground will save apples from the icy ruin that threatens […]

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    Week 42, Orchard Cider Year

    October 18, INDOORS: Tasting in the cider-room with Bertrand, a perfume specialist trained (for one example) to detect by the scent of a rose the region where it grew.  Thank goodness we only learned this after our tasting – no time to be humbled!  Because this sensory chore had to get done pronto. Next Tuesday […]

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    Week 41, Orchard Cider Year

    October 12, OUTDOORS: Now the morning fog lasts till after 8.  In Wednesday’s fog the crew starts a second day in those loaded Dabinett rows, where the trees have dropped a third to a half of their burden. Under the trees behind the tractor – it’s Disney tidy!  So scenic. Then we see the guys […]

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    Week 40, Orchard Cider Year

    October 5, OUTDOORS: Yarlington Mill do their best bittersweet work if they drop before they’re pressed.  On Black Hill, some have dropped but most have not.  Often it’s possible to save time and effort by shaking trees just hard enough to bring down a lot more press-ready apples, leaving the unready ones to ripen further.  […]

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    Week 39, Orchard Cider Year

    September 28, OUTDOORS: 8AM,  clockwise from BL, a trailer of Harry Masters’ Jersey waiting to go into storage, Luke unloading bins fast because the trailer needs an outgoing load of empties pronto. Right now these little HMJ apples taste like watery fruit salad & sugar with strong notes of aspirin & licking-a-lamppost. But their juice […]

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    Week 38, Orchard Cider Year

    September 22, INDOORS: It’s hard to photograph Wanda because she moves so fast but Brenda caught her at each end of a siphon hose, racking barrel batches into a cube tank.  She seems to have noticed the camera.  BTW that word “ACID” looks kind of sinister but really it means “wicked acidic juice for balancing […]

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    Week 37, Orchard Cider Year

    September 15 OUTDOORS: Still the harvest is starting so slowly  that Vivien, Willie, Brown and James (LR corner), in our Back Tourville block, wait for empty bins while Fitz, who’s bringing them, talks to Steve about what other apples should come in today. Once harvest speeds up, nobody waits for bins if we can help […]

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    Week 33, Orchard Cider Year

    OUTDOORS, August 15: Pest monitoring chore: Luke treks  to 34 sticky traps, scrapes off the old bugs and puts on new TangleTrap. Mustn’t confuse old bugs with new on the next monitoring round. Also: 5-6 feet of sorghum sudan grass, seeded late June!  Note also hard evidence that thunderstorms, bringers of welcome rain, also enjoy […]

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    Week 32, Orchard Cider Year

    INDOORS, August 10: Bottling bottling bottling bottling. Semi-Dry last week, Extra Dry this week, Farmhouse ASAP! Recall that these new ciders come from 2015 fruit… We need stacks of finished cases to fill orders during the fall ahead, while we’re picking and pressing this year’s harvest.  Brown sparges empty bottles, John fills, Wanda corks and […]