Tag Archives: cider making

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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 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 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 36, Orchard Cider Year

    September 8, OUTDOORS: Well this year the harvest hasn’t cranked up yet because apples are ripening a bit late — but the crew is here to work!  John & Brown are cutting root suckers, which spring up around the bases of some trees when their rootstocks put out wood and foliage. Why? Because the above-ground […]

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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 […]

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    Week 30, Orchard Cider Year

    OUTDOORS: Updates! Top right, John & Brown are replacing those battered white temporary mouse-guards, (rapidly wrapped round the newly planted trees back in May, top left) with dug-in black mesh for the long run.  As usual, John & Brown got here from Jamaica in time to kick up the pace of work as everything grows.  […]

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    Week 29, Orchard Cider Year

    July 18, OUTDOORS: Helping out with research mentioned last week: here’s Luke gathering berry samples needed to determine the effect on Spotted-Wing Drosophila of these round red “attracticidal” traps (made originally to stop apple maggot flies.  “Attracticidal” is a word that deserves to get out more, no?)  Year 1 of this experiment, 2015, gave encouraging […]

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    Week 22, Orchard Cider Year

    June 1, OUTDOORS:  First of all, remember last week’s Dabinett blossom, bee tributes, etc? Here’s one Dab cluster one week later: that’s some pollination! Round the edges, a mini-glance into the immense complexities of integrated pest management, which just won’t fit this format. Basically, certain winged bugs need watching this time of year. Apple Blotch […]

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    Week 21, Orchard Cider Year

    May 25, OUTDOORS:   Good Dabinett blossom. Two bumble species, moving in short hops flower to flower, pausing briefly, no slacking. They probably worked all day yesterday too. Honeybees madly active on this perfect day, with noticeably more aerobatics and longer stops than the home bees. Yesterday was less lovely, they took it easy. That dark […]