Happenings on the farm: We finished getting apples trimmed and pruned for the season today, which means we’re now moving full speed ahead on Concord grape trimming (Niagara grape trimming begins in January when the vines have gone truly dormant). This will take most of the next month, and if you drive by, you’ll see us hard at work, snow, rain, or shine.
Thanksgiving pie pick up: Pick up day is Wednesday, 11/26, from 8am to 4pm. If you still need to order Thanksgiving pies, please contact us ASAP and we’ll fit you in! Your pies will be ready for you with friendly smiles from our bakery staff (we have missed you!). You are also welcome to buy brandy, wine, and hard cider while the bakery is open on 11/26 (or by appointment any day, just call us at 269 244 5690 to set up a time).
Hard cider? Becca has brought her homebrewing experience to our winery and distillery, making 400+ gallons of hard cider, mead, cyser (a mead/hard cider blend), apple wine, and cider vinegar to add to our market. She’s made two brews ready for this winter, both of which will be available starting Wednesday:
-Owl’s Omen, a traditional dry hard cider, made without any added sulfites
-Snowline Cider, a semi-dry hard cider with light spicing
Read more here. Both ciders come in standard 12oz bottles, $2.50 each or $13/6 pack. There’s a growing interest in hard cider, so for those of you who are new to it, Becca offers this primer:
Hard cider was the beverage of choice of Western European settlers, and was an immensely popular table beverage across the United States until the 1800s, at which point it slowly declined in popularity, finally nearly disappearing with Prohibition.
Hard cider is to apples what wine is to grapes: if you expect it to taste like apples, you may be in for some news! Newcomers to craft cider are often surprised that it doesn’t taste exactly like alcoholic apple juice. A lot of the misconception comes from the flavor profiles offered by big hard cider brands, which nearly universally utilize chemical flavorings, sugar, artificial carbonation, and other stuff to ensure an apple juice flavor and a perfectly clear product. Craft ciders, like craft beers and wines, are made differently, and vary immensely in flavor and style.
Having enjoyed craft and commercial cider from the USA, Spain, England, Wales, France, Austria, Argentina, and Chile, I really like the variation and hope to offer that at our market. Cider comes in the full range of sweet, semi-dry, or dry, and sparkling or still. Try what you can, here and at other small cideries, and get a sense of what you like. If you’re worried about sugar, it’s best to go for a semi-dry or dry cider, since sweet cider often has a full tablespoon (or two) of residual sugar. Like commerical wines, craft cider usually has added sulfites, though this depends on the cidermaker or cider variety.
Like craft beer, craft cider can be bottle conditioned, meaning some carbonation or intentional aging occurs in the bottle. It is often unpasteurized and should be kept in a dark cool place. When you buy a bottle or a six-pack of hard cider from us, Becca will send along a little information on the variety you bought so you know what considerations you should have. All of the ingredients are clearly listed on our labels.
Stay tuned for cherry, pear, plum, and peach ciders – made with Corey Lake Orchards produce! – which we will offer next year.
From all of us here at the farm, we’re hoping you are staying warm and keeping up with the snow shoveling!