CIDER WEEK HUDSON VALLEY JUNE 12 – 21, 2015

CiderWeekHVlogo

Visit the Cider Week Hudson Valley website for more detals:  ciderweekhv.com

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CIDER SUMMIT SF ANNOUNCES FULL LINEUP OF CIDER PRODUCERS

CiderSummitSF2015

Press Release Details:

CIDER SUMMIT SF ANNOUNCES FULL LINEUP OF CIDER PRODUCERS

Tickets on Sale for Leading Hard Cider Tasting Event in the Presidio

San Francisco, Calif. – Cider Summit San Francisco is excited to announce the full lineup of ciders and programming details for the region’s largest cider tasting festival. In its second year in the Bay Area and new, expanded location at the Civil War Parade Ground in the Presidio, Cider Summit SF will take place onSaturday, April 25, 2015 from 12:00 p.m.6:00 p.m. Cider lovers will come together to taste over 150 ciders from 46 cideries, including 74 ciders from California, and other regional favorites and international classics.

Event highlights include:

  • Enjoy specially paired food selections from the Whole Foods Market Truck, Slow Hand BBQ and others
  • Taste varieties of fresh-pressed apple juice from Gowan Orchards
  • Compete in apple bowling from Presenting Sponsor, Whole Foods Market
  • Hang out in the “Dog Lounge” hosted by Berkeley Humane & Wag Hotels
  • Shop in the event store featuring Cider Summit SF t-shirts and other merchandise

Just announced cider producers participating include:

101 Cider House

2 Towns / Traditions

Anthem Ciders

Artisanal Imports

Atlas Cider Co.

Aspall Cyder House

Bite Hard Cider

Bristols Cider

California Cider Company

Cider Brothers

Ciders of Spain

Common Cider

Crispin Cider Co.      

Devoto Orchards

Eden Ice Cider Co.

E.Z. Orchards Cidre

Farnum Hill Ciders

Finnriver Cidery

FoxCraft

Golden State Cider

Gowans Cider

Horse & Plow

Humboldt Cider

Indigeny Reserve

JK’s Almar Orchards

Le Face Cachee de la Pomme

Maeloc Cider

Orchard Gate Imports

Red Branch Cider

Reef Points

Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider

Rogue Cider

Santa Cruz Scrumpy

Sea Cider Farm & Cider House

See Canyon Hard Cider

Schilling Hard Cider

Sonoma Cider

South City Ciderworks

Specific Gravity Cider

Tag & Jug Cider

Thistly Cross

Tieton Cider Works

Tilted Shed Ciderworks

Troy Cider

Two Rivers Cider Company

Vermont Hard Cider Co.

Wandering Aengus

Waupoos Cider

William’s Orchards

Winesellers, Ltd.

Worley’s Cider

For a full lineup of events, cidermakers and to purchase tickets, visit the site here or on Facebook and Twitter #CiderSummitSF. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door (cash only).

For those seeking to utilize public transportation, the complimentary PresidiGo shuttle runs throughout the day from several locations in San Francisco. SF MUNI also operates multiple bus routes to the Presidio.  There is also ample onsite parking. If you prefer not to drive, Uber is offering a special promo code to get people to and from the Cider Summit. Enter the promo code CIDERSUMMITSF  to get a free first ride up to $20. Ride credit is for new Uber users only and is not valid on uberTAXI.

Cider Summit SF is presented by Whole Foods Market, along with supporting sponsors Upcider GastropubOrchard Garden HotelWag HotelsKIND SnacksBART, and Morris Distributing. Cider Summit will benefit The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer ResearchBerkeley Humane, and the California Cider & Perry Association.

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What We’re Reading: Fruits and Plains. The Horticultural Transformation of America by Philip J. Pauly

What We’re Reading: Fruits and Plains. The Horticultural Transformation of America by Philip J. Pauly

Of particular interest,

Chapter 3

The Development of American Culture, with Special Reference to Fruit

Fruits and Plains

Pauly, Philip J. Fruits and Plains: The Horticultural Transformation of America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2007. Print.

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Guest Post: Wassail: An Unexpected Revival by Maria Kennedy

We’ve been following the writings of Maria Kennedy at Cider With Maria for some time, and were very pleasantly surprised to find ourselves seated next to her at Proletariat’s 2013 Cider Week NY tasting event with Andy Brennan of Aaron Burr Cider.
We share an interest in cider culture, and as part of our ongoing explorations into Wassail history and traditions, Maria kindly agreed to shared her post Wassail: An Unexpected Revival
with us.
Enjoy!

Wassail: An Unexpected Revival

by Maria Kennedy

Image
Flyer for the Foxwhelp Morris Wassail, Preston on Wye 2012

I was sitting it a pub in East Hackney, London one January night a few years ago trying to convince a young man from Portsmouth that English people did in fact practice the custom of wassail.  “Wassail?” he said.  “I’ve never heard of that.  English people don’t do that.  I don’t believe you.”  I parried his aura of certainty with my own indisputable fact: I had just travelled down to a remote corner of Devonshire to participate in a wassail.  I had seen it for myself.  We had traipsed round a village in the Blackdown Hills singing for cider and wishing good health to the farmhouse, the garage, the old vicarage, the pub, and finally the orchard itself. English people DO wassail.

The young man’s incredulity about the existence of this custom is understandable, though.  With a few notable exceptions of wassail celebrations that claim to have survived unbroken into the present, such as the one at Carhampton, Somerset, the custom seems to have died out or disappeared most everywhere else, surviving only as a festive Christmas drink or an obsolete word in a carol.  In the past few years, however, a notable revival has been rising, and as several of my friends in England put it, everyone seems to want to have a wassail now.

So why did wassailing die out in England, and why is it being revived now?  These were some of the questions I set out to answer when I first trekked out to torchlit winter processions on the twelfth night of Christmas in Devon, and later Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Worcestershire.

Many people think of Wassail as a remnant pagan custom, and it is easy to see why, when black-faced Morris men lead hordes of otherwise tame urbanites carrying torches through old orchards to sing to the apple trees and scare off witches with gunfire.  It’s an enthusiastic performance of what some might think of as a primitive, superstitious approach to life, which might seem refreshing after the daily grind of rational civility. Being outside after the endless indoor Christmas parties feels like a release, and the bonfires and torches light up the night in a way that wakes your tired soul from the dreary sleep of midwinter. And the cider, well the cider just makes you feel sublime, a bit euphoric.  The torches seem brighter.  The night seems blacker.  And it feels like anything is possible inside the circle of trees that almost seem alive.

Image
Morris Man from Silurian Morris at the Tenbury Wassail 2013

I think the custom’s visceral tactile appeal stems from the sensory stimulation of frost and fire and the imaginative tunnel of superstition usually silenced in a society based on scientific rationality.  It’s an opportunity to get out and be a little wild for a night, and that’s what rituals and festivals are often good for, shaking up our everyday habits and injecting the mundane world with mystery and significance we don’t usually feel.

Some of the people I came to know who had helped revive wassail over the last twenty years had a much less superstitious orientation to the custom, though, and their perspectives shed light on some of the social realities of rural agricultural life and highlight the enormous social changes it has undergone in the past century.  Wassail, a custom historically based in rural society and food production, has something to teach us about the changing ways we work with each other, as well as the ways we interact with natural and agricultural resources.

For Eric Freeman, a life-long farmer in the rural countryside of Gloucestershire, and his friends Pete Symonds, a former electrician from the Forest of Dean, and Albert Rixen, a plumber and engineer, wassail was a tribute to the work of the agricultural year and an emblem of the social contract between farmers and their agricultural workers. Pete Symonds is a skilled tradesman in a rural community whose livelihood suffered with the outsourcing of industrial work overseas.  He saw in wassail the opportunity to celebrate the social bonds of working men and commemorate the cooperative nature of agricultural labor in an era before industrialization. Albert Rixen, devoted to restoring old steam engines, including antique steam powered cider equipment, also lends his workman’s approach to wassail and cider making, keeping alive the mechanical heritage of agricultural work.  Eric Freeman, a tireless supporter of agriculturally-oriented social networks such as the Young Farmers and groups devoted to saving rare breeds of livestock, has dedicated much of his life to the practice of farming not just as a business or even a personal vocation, but a way of life still full of social and cultural richness.

Image
Eric Freeman holding the Wassail Cup at his annual Wassail in Huntley, Gloucestershire

For these men, the resurrection of the custom of wassail was not about superstition at all.  The considerable labor involved in preparing the bonfires and torches and orchestrating the festival mirrored the kind of labor they wanted to celebrate – shared labor, social labor, the kind of labor that was necessary to keep a pre-industrial farm going.  This is the kind of labor that makes work worthwhile, and which seems to be slipping away in a world of global markets, where labor is outsourced, rural communities are left slowly crumbling, and agriculture produces commodities instead of food.

It’s also important to remember that the social contract didn’t always work, that standards of living for agricultural workers in the pre-industrial era were generally dire.  But wassail was a moment when the contract was tested, when the workers held the orchard and the farm hostage for a night, demanding food and drink from their employers in return for performing the wassail and ensuring a fertile crop in the year to come.  Superstition becomes bare social reality here, because without a satisfied workforce, the farm could not be productive.  Without workers, there would be no harvest, no fertility.  Wassail was a kind of symbolic labor negotiation, with the potential harvest hanging in the balance.  And the next Monday after twelfth night, known as Plough Monday, work started again.  The fields were ploughed for the coming year.

Image
Leominster Morris Wassail in Eardisley, Herefordshire 2013

It all seems a bit serious for a rowdy evening of cider drinking, morris dancing, and bonfire lighting.  And don’t get me wrong, sometimes of the most obvious reasons to join in a wassail is simply for a good prank, a good drink, and an excuse to dress up in funny costumes and indulge in a little pyromania.  But the interplay of superstition, social history, and a walloping good time is what makes wassail a tradition with depth and complexity that can appeal to people on many levels, even as they face adapting to economic, social, and environmental change in their communities.

Can wassail take hold in North America?  A real, strong tradition here will depend on our own social needs and reasons for adopting a custom.  It will be exciting to see how it takes shape as we begin to re-invest attention in our agriculture, our orchards, and our cider.  In a way, the social contract we are now re-exploring with our food system, our environment, and our economies makes wassail all the more relevant, and the tables have turned.  Wassail, in all its irreverent topsy-turvy midwinter glory, reminds us that agriculture and food production, even in our industrialized, exploitative, globalized era is still a social, and an environmental contract.  In an old-fashioned way, it poses the question “Are we in it together folks?”  And its pretty exciting to hear folks replying: “Here’s to thee old apple tree.”

ImageOrchard near Preston on Wye, Herefordshire, Foxwhelp Morris Wassail 2012
Wassail: An Unexpected Revival all content and photographs copyright Maria Kennedy.
We encourage you to read more from Maria Kennedy at her blog: ciderwithmaria.wordpress.com
and
Take a listen to these interviews with Maria on Earth Eats:
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It’s The Annual Call To Wassail. January 5th -17th, 2015.

The Wassail (Charles Rennie Mackintosh)

A Call To Wassail. January 5th – 17th, 2015.

Hello Friends of Cider!

We ask YOU the cider community to join us in embracing Wassail in 2015.

What is Wassail?

Wikipedia:

“The Orchard-Visiting wassail refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider-producing regions of England, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year.”

Herefordshire Times:

“Steeped in history, wassailing is traditionally held on the Twelfth Night after Christmas and performed in orchards to awaken the apple trees from their winter slumber and ward off bad spirits.”

When is Wassail?

We propose to observe North American celebrations from January 5th to  January 17th, 2015. (‘New’ 12th Night Eve to ‘Old’ 12th Night – more about that later).

Goals for the 2015 Wassail:

Explore Old & New World Wassail Traditions

Salute The Orchard

Honor The Apple

Celebrate With Cider

How Can You Wassail?

Enjoy cider and a wassail bowl with friends.

Visit an orchard, cidermaker or local cider-serving establishment and toast the orchard & the apple.

Host a Wassail Event.

Or just raise a glass to Cider.

Let us know if you’ve planned an event – we’ll post it on our Wassail 2015 page.

If you tweet about your cider activities – consider using the hashtag #Wassail2015.

The 2015 Wassail Theme: Explore Wassail.

We hope this will be an informal collaborative effort and an annual event for the growing cider community in North America.

The Wassail (Charles Rennie Mackintosh)

Take a look at our Wassail 2015 page for more information, links, and recipes.

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Wassail 2015.

The Wassail (Charles Rennie Mackintosh)

WASSAIL 2015

January 5th – January 17th, 2015

We encourage you to Wassail, honor the orchard and celebrate the apple.

Wassail in the orchard, at your favorite cider-serving establishment, or where ever Twelfth Night week finds you.

Join us and raise a glass of cider – toast the apple & the orchard.

WASSAIL 2015 

The Wassailing

Highlights from

WASSAIL 2014

January 5th – January 17th, 2014*

UNITED STATES:

CA: Tilted Shed Ciderworks Orchard Wassail on Old Twelfth Night  January 17, 2014 www.tiltedshed.com

MO: Wassailing the Apple Trees and Dinner at Powell Gardens – January 18, 2014. www.powellgardens.org/wassailing

NY: Redbyrd Orchard Cider – January 17, 2014. redbyrdorchardcider.com

NY: Wassail daily at The Drink with their Wassail cup or bowl thedrinkbrooklyn.com

OR: Finn River Cidery Winter Wassail –  January 18, 2014. www.finnriver.com

VT: Champlain Orchards – January 18, 2014.  www.champlainorchards.com

CANADA:

BC: Sea Cider Winter Wassail Celebration – January 19, 2014 seacider.ca

The Wassail (Charles Rennie Mackintosh)

OUR WASSAIL POSTS:

A Call To Wassail. January 5th – 17th, 2014.

Come All Ye Cider Drinkers and Join In The Wassail!

A Bit About Wassailing From the National Association of Cider Makers

IT BEGINS. 13 Days Of Wassailing 2014

These Days Of Wassailing

The Pagan Rite WASSAIL! Brown, Bradshaw and World’s Best Ciders.

Wassail Day 1. Fortifying with Pear Brandy. Olmsted’s Sidecar Cocktail.

Wassail Traditions: The 5 Key Elements.

Old Apple Tree, We’ll WASSAIL Thee!

Rackham Lady's Apple

 WASSAIL RESOURCES & LINKS: LEARN MORE ABOUT ORCHARD WASSAILING:

Wassailing Through History from the Colonial Williamsburg Journal, USA

About Wassailing from the National Association of Cider Makers, United Kingdom

Cider: It’s Time for Wassail by Maria Kennedy of Cider With Maria for Twice Cooked

Wassail: An Unexpected Revival by Maria Kennedy of Cider With Maria

Wassail: Some Historical Reports and their Contexts by Maria Kennedy of Cider With Maria

Wassail Story From The Radio Program – Living on Earth via the blog Cider With Maria

The Foodie Bugle Talks Wassail: Here’s To Thee Old Apple Tree

Rackham-Winter Trees

A SELECTION OF WASSAIL RECIPES:

Lambswool (Wassail) Recipe (with history notes) for a modern kitchen from RecipeWise recipewise.co.uk

Traditional Lambswool Recipes from early sources collected by RecipeWise recipewise.co.uk

Holiday drinks: Here we come a-wassailing at American Food Roots with a recipe and video from Alton Brown (with eggs, ale and Madeira)

How To Make PDTs Winter Wassail with Hudson Valley Cider from Breezy Hill Orchard via Serious Eats

From PUNCH Drink: A Recipe For Wassail: punchdrink.com

The Churchill’s Jenn Dowds shared this Wassail recipe with Rosie Schaap for The New York Times.

Rackham Pomona

*The month of January 2014 was dedicated to Wassail at United States of Cider.

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From The “New, Useful and Entertaining” Thomas’ The Farmer’s Almanac. Edition No. 1. Calendars for December, 1793:

1793 of Almanck cover

The first edition, published by Robert B. Thomas in 1792, (for the year 1793) was “declared new, useful and entertaining” and sold for six pence.

Calendar for December 1793:

“Put your sleds and sleighs in order. Complete your thrashing. Visit your barns often. See that your cellars are well stored with good cider, that wholesome and cheering liquor, which is the product of your own farms: No man is to be pitied, that cannot enjoy himself or his friend, over a pot of good cider, the product of his own country, and perhaps his own farm which suits both his constitution and his pocket much better than West-India spirit.”

sources & resources:

website: www.almanac.com

link to free google ebook compilation:  The Old Farmer and His Almanack: Being Some Observations on Life and Manners in Vew England a Hundred Years Ago, Suggested by Reading the Earlier Numbers of Mr. Robert. B. Thomas’s Farmer’s Almanack, Together with Extracts Curious, Instructive, and Entertaining, as Well as a Variety of Miscellaneous Matter

Harvard University Press, 1920
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On Thanksgiving Traditions In The Colony of New Haven.

Colliers Thanksgiving Cover 1901

“Thanksgiving was celebrated with the greatest profusion. For three days previous all was bustle and preparation: the stalled ox was killed, – turkeys, hens, and geese innumerable shared the fate of Charles the first, – a load of the best walnut wood was drawn for the thanksgiving fires, a barrel of the best cider was chosen, the best pumpkins were selected for pies, (to supply the place of minced,)* and strong water was provided in moderation to assist the inspiration of the joyful occasion.”

* “It has been said that minced pies were proscribed from the bill of fare of the Puritans because they were customarily made by the Episcopalians on Christmas.”

Page: 191

From: History of the colony of New Haven: before and after the union with Connecticut. Containing a particular description of the towns which composed that government, viz., New Haven, Milford, Guilford, Branford, Stamford, & Southold, L. I., with a notice of the towns which have been set off from “the original six.” 

Author: Edward Rodolphus Lambert Publisher: Hitchcock & Stafford, 1838 – Branford (Conn.)

via: google ebook

Image: Creator(s): Penfield, Edward, 1866-1925, artist. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, reproduction number LC-USZC4-1206 (color film copy transparency)

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Harvest Times

All images are from The Library of Congress. 4 are from the collection of Harris & Ewing, photographers, and the image of apple picking in Berkeley County, West Virginia is by Smith Brothers.

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IT’S CIDER WEEK IN NYC

Cider Week NYC Postcard 2014

Check the list of official events at www.ciderweeknyc.com and ask your favorite dining and imbibing spots and shops what they have planned for Cider Week NYC.

Get Social With Cider & Join The (hard) Cider Revival:

Facebook: Cider Week
Twitter: @ciderweekny
Instagram: @ciderweekny

#ciderweekny
#ciderweek
#ciderselfie
(clicking on the magic apple will whisk you directly to the EVENTS page)
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Highlights from #ciderchat and preview of Cider and Cheese Workshop

 

 

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Cider Celebrates The American Cheese Plate!

As the American Cheese Society gathers in Sacramento for the annual ACS conference, (with over 1600+ cheeses and 100’s of makers, mongers and curd nerds), our resident cheesemonger – who tweets @ConsiderTheRind & writes on all things cheese at ConsiderTheRind.com – will be heading West to the Festival of Cheese.

Along the ways she’ll stop at The Healdsburg SHED, to team up with Tilted Shed Ciderworks, Devoto Orchards Cider, Gypsy Cheese Co., & Weirauch Farm & Creamery on August 3rd, for what promises to be an exciting East Meets West Cider & Cheese Tasting Workshop, details here.

Get your Brown Paper tickets here!

For more details follow @craftyandbeast #ciderchat (TONIGHT) Thursday, July 24th, 6PM PST/9PM EST – we’ll be #ciderchatting about the upcoming cider & cheese event, and encourage all you cider & cheese fans to ‘pair up’ and create some tasting events of your own.

Links:

healdsburgshed.com

www.tiltedshed.com

www.devotocider.com

www.gypsycheese.com

www.weirauchfarm.com

craftyandthebeast.com

@craftyandbeast #ciderchat

American Cheese Society

CtR (1)

 

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Celebrating 200 Years of the Historic Fort Ross Orchard

Fort Ross1383074_232226773603226_180268532_n

Photograph by Paul C. Miller, courtesy of Fort Ross Conservancy

Where & When:

Fort Ross State Historic Park
19005 Coast Hwy
JennerCA 95450

Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM (PDT)

Event Details:

In 1814, the Russians at Fort Ross began their orchard by planting a peach tree. They and the ranchers who followed planted trees and harvested fruit from the site for over 150 years, and a number of historic trees still survive today.

In celebration of the historic Fort Ross orchard’s 200th anniversary, Fort Ross Conservancy is hosting a conference on orchards and orchard management. Lectures by experts from the National Park Service and California State Parks will discuss the history of orchards, historic orchard care, and tree preservation. A tour of the Fort Ross orchard will follow, with an opportunity to discuss recent management at the site.

The Fort Ross orchard was planted by the Russians in 1814 and several trees from the mid 1800s are still living, including two Russian-era cherry trees. This conference celebrates the 200th anniversary of the historic orchards at Fort Ross. Conference speakers include:

  • Susan Dolan, Park Cultural Landscapes Program Manager with National Park Service, will provide an overview of the history of orchards, and discuss basic techniques in orchard stabilization,
  • Jan Wooley, Historic Preservationist with California State Parks, will discuss orchards and ongoing work within the California State Parks System,
  • Susan Rudy, Fort Ross Conservancy Advisor and lead orchard volunteer, will describe the history and ongoing care of the Fort Ross orchard,
  • Amigo Bob Cantisano (tentative) will discus the Felix Gillet Historic Orchard Project. This organization identifies, preserves, and propagates the best varieties of fruit and nut trees still thriving in the mining camps, farms, homesteads and towns of the Sierra that were introduced by Felix Gillet, of Nevada City, Calfiornia, in 1871.

Schedule for the Day

  • 10am – 1pm    Lecture/Presentations in the Fort Ross Visitor Center auditorium
  • 1:30-2:30        Lunch at the orchard
  • 2:30-3:30        Historic Fort Ross Orchard tour
  • 4pm                Optional tour of the Fort Ross Historic Compound.

Special event fees apply:

$10 per person for conference and historic orchard tour.
*plus* California State Parks entrance fee of $8 per car when parking at Fort Ross. (Please carpool!)

Optional boxed lunch delivered to the orchard: $15/ person, advanced purchase only.
Or you are welcome to bring your own picnic lunch!

visit-s

For more information on the Fort Ross historic orchard visit the Orchard webpage.

Link: www.fortross.org

Tickets & event details available at:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrating-200-years-of-the-historic-fortross-orchard-tickets-10786062403

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Photograph by Paul C. Miller, courtesy of Fort Ross Conservancy

Fort Ross1383422_232226910269879_1321793990_n

Photograph by Paul C. Miller, courtesy of Fort Ross Conservancy

Fort Ross1390635_232228273603076_2015711172_n

Photograph by Paul C. Miller, courtesy of Fort Ross Conservancy

Fort Ross16253_232226543603249_293914781_n

Photograph by Paul C. Miller, courtesy of Fort Ross Conservancy

All photos by Paul C. Miller, courtesy of Fort Ross Conservancy

Map courtesy of Fort Ross Conservancy

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Why do we need so many kinds of apples?

Apples in a crate at Albemarle Cider Works Vintage Virginia Apples

“Why do we need so many kinds of apples?

Because there are so many folks. A person has a right to gratify his legitimate tastes. If he wants twenty or forty kinds of apples for his personal use, running from Early Harvest to Roxbury Russet, he should be accorded the privilege. Some place should be provided where he may obtain trees or scions. There is merit in variety itself. It provides more points of contact with life, and leads away from uniformity and monotony.”
–Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Apple Tree, p. 68
(New York: Macmillan, 1922)

Celebrating America’s Unique Apple Diversity: Selected Literature

Special Reference Briefs Series

No. SRB 2010-02

Compiled by:
Rebecca Mazur and Katie Winkleblack
National Agricultural Library
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
10301 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705
agref@nal.usda.gov
http://www.nal.usda.gov

September 2010
Updated September 2011

“This bibliography is a selected compilation from the rich pool of information resources at the National Agricultural Library about heirloom apples. It consists of a list of books and reports at the Library dating prior to 1928, with the addition of later books which focus on the subject of varieties of apples grown in the American past. It is organized into sections first by date and then in order of the author’s last name.”

Link: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/srb1002.shtml#1754

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Deadline Bean Town. 3 Cider Taste-Off Results. A Report from Outpost Boston.

BostonTasteOff

From Our Boston Outpost:

Some time ago our intrepid Bean Town Cider Correspondent led a cider tasting somewhere in wilds of greater Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Tasters were a diverse batch –  ranging in age from just-legal whippersnappers, to seasoned imbibers. Of the assembled tasters a select few were cider-philes, most had only a glancing familiarity with our favorite pome fruit beverage, and some were completely cider-unaware, having no idea what to expect from a fermented apple elixir.

Ciders were selected based on local availability.

The Cider Contenders:

Bantam WUNDERKIND of Massachusetts

Fatty Bampkins DRY hailing from Maine

Vermont Cider Co. FARMHOUSE No. 91 

The 3 ciders were presented, glasses filled and the tasters let loose.

Our correspondent placed paper and pen by each cider bottle, and the testers jotted anonymous notes as they tasted.

Real people drinking actual ciders. Here is what they had to say:

Bantam WUNDERKIND Tasting Comments:

“The champagne of ciders!”

“Light, a wee sharp upfront, (illegible), like sparkling wine.”

“Likey!”

“Very sweet”

“Good body, nice aftertaste. A little too sweet.”

“Good with Food/Meal.”

“Sweet & tasty, makes me want a donut.”

“NICE!”

“More like apple juice.  Sweet & crisp but blends well.”

“Good sparkle & flavor. Has mellow apple flavor.”

Fatty Bampkins DRY Tasting Comments:

“faint apple taste”

“Light/Fresh, Refreshing – Not Much Flavor”

“Very Adult. – DRY.”

“Too TARTE”

“slight pickle scent??”

“No me gusta tambien. Very vinegary, not much apple flavor”

Vermont Cider Co. FARMHOUSE No. 91 Tasting Comments:

“sweet apple taste (heart).”

“Like soda-pop. Tastes like apples. (On purpose?)”

“delicious. very sweet. would prefer it to be a little more bubbly!”

“Flat but could be tasty otherwise.”

“Perfect for tweens.”

“Lacks effervescence, a bit sweet, but could be good in a cocktail!”

“Not enough effervescence for me, but the flavor is smooth.”

“Did I just drink alcohol? Pretty sure it was juice.”

The Consensus: Local craft cider Bantam WUNDERKIN is hands down favorite at this informal Boston cider tasting.

The Take Away:

1. We believe there is a cider for everyone.

2. How to find YOUR ciders?  Taste Testing. Extensive Taste Testing.

3. Cider Tasting is More Fun in Groups. Cider knowledge shared while tasting is enjoyable, and informal, casual tastings brings out the best in most ciders, and certainly results in some interesting comments.

4. If you like cider and want to share the cider joy, an informal tasting like this is a good way to introduce your cider-curious friends to the wonderful world of cider.

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Sneak Peek: September 2014: Apples of Uncommon Character by Rowan Jacobsen

9781620402276

Rowan Jacobsen

Apples of Uncommon Character

123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics, & Little-Known Wonders

(Plus 20 Sweet and Savory Recipes)

Bloomsbury, September 2014

Rowan Jacobsen: www.rowanjacobsen.com and @rowanjacobsen

Bloomsbury: www.bloomsbury.com

Photographer Clare Barboza (clarebarboza.com) shares a “visual sneak peek” from Uncommon Apples in her blog post a whole lotta apples.

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Cider Review: Eve’s Cidery BECKHORN HOLLOW DRY CIDER: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: BECKHORN HOLLOW DRY CIDER

Maker: Eve’s Cidery   Origin:  Van Etten, New York

website: www.evescidery.com

ABV: 8%   Bottle: 750 ml

Makers Style/Bottle Notes: “Naturally sparkling cider, fermented in this bottle”.

Fruit: Apple  Cider Maker:  Autumn Stoscheck

Our Tasting Notes: First glass, drinking at about 52 degrees.

In The Glass:  Clear, pale, white-gold with a small, steady bead that settles to no visible bubble. 

Aroma: Apple peel, marzipan, honey, raw apple, baked apple, grassy, powdered sugar, citrus peel and spice.

Taste: Tart, sweet, slightly spirituous and warming, with stone fruit, dried apricot, and anise & fennel.

Overall Impressions: Refreshing with pleasing tart acidity, balanced by sweet, sour, and subtle bitter notes. Intend to taste this cider again if we can find – it’s a special blend – we discovered ours at Eve’s Cidery’s New York GrowNYC Greenmarket stall at Union Square. This cider is currently not listed on Eve’s Cidery’s website.

BONUS MIXOLOGY TIP: Eve’s Cidery Beckhorn Hollow Dry Cider with a splash of Eden Ice Cider Orleans Bitter is delicious and tremendously refreshing. Makes an easy apéritif or the start of an interesting cocktail.

Watch an informative video about Eve’s Cidery’s orcharding practices: Orcharding with Autumn from Eve’s Cidery on Vimeo.

Eve’s Ciderywww.evescidery.com

Find Eve’s Cidery’s stall at the GrowNYC Union Square Greenmarket www.grownyc.org:  Friday MapSaturday Map.

Eden Ice Ciders: www.edenicecider.com

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33 Mugs Of Cider: Handy Tasting Review Pocket Journals from 33 Books Co.

Our Barstool Review – Cider Tasting On The Go Tool Kit (just add pencil).

Small, graphically pleasing, and easy to use pocket tasting notebooks from 33books.com.

We’re road-testing these handy little pocket tasting review journals: 33 Mugs of Cider & 33 Pieces of Cheese. The 33 Books Co. line currently also includes pocket guides for: Wine, Whiskey, Beer, Hot Sauce, Chocolate, Coffee & Cigars, with several others in the works.

They are indeed “powerful, yet pocket-sized”, eco-friendly, and include a dash of real cider in the printing ink!

Cider-drinkers, tasting rooms, bottle shops & taprooms – do consider this line of tasting journal books from 33books.com.

33_MUGS_CIDER_COVER CIDER_SPREAD

Links:

www.33books.com

Or jump right to the 33 Mugs of Cider

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What We’re Reading: Pomona’s Harvest by H. Frederic Janson

Pomonas Harvest

Pomona’s Harvest: An Illustrated Chronicle of Antiquarian Fruit Literature by H. Frederic Janson, Timber Press, 1996.

From Timber Press:

“An intriguing history of books about fruit from antiquity to the Industrial Revolution, including many beautiful engravings from key works. The relationship of pomology to social history and the history of ideas is explored, and there is a bibliography describing more than 600 fruit-related sources.”

This is an extremely valuable resource for anyone interested in early pomological texts, and pomological illustration.

Currently available as a print-on-demand paperback from these online retailers: Amazon.comBarnes & NoblePowell’s.

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Oh, Ithaca! A Very Moist City. 1921.

cropped-observations.jpg

The Cornell Daily Sun

Volume XLII, Number 4, 24 September 1921

MANUFACTURERS OF CIDER TOLD TO GET PERMITS

Federal Inspector Lays Down Law to Makers of the Beverage.

ITHACA VERY MOIST CITY

Official Claims More Liquor Here Than in Other Towns of Same Size.

REGULATIONS ON VINEGAR

Cannot Be Manufactured Without Having Bonds and Taking Legal Steps.

“There Is more liquor in Ithaca than in any other city of its size in New York State, according to a statement made by the federal director,” declared Jay Carpenter when he returned yesterday afternoon from a short trip to Syracuse. Mr. Carpenter, who was accompanied by E. J. Holmes, said that they had received instructions from the “district prohibition agent that neither they nor any other cider manufacturers in Tompkins county would be permitted to make any more cider unless they first obtained a federal permit and then gave a guarantee that the cider would never become sour. The official also informed his visitors that the federal agents have Ithaca in mind for another visit in the near future. It Is understood the interest of the federal enforcement bureau was drawn to Ithaca due to the large sales of hard cider which have been made in this city. Mr. Holmes and Mr. Carpenter, both of whom manufacture clder on an extensive scale, were cited to appear before the federal director in ‘Syracuse on Thursday. They were ‘ Turned that they had no right to manufacture cider without a permit and that if they obtain a permit they must absolutely guarantee that the cider would not turn sour. Mr. Carpenter maintained that, although his cider is pasteurized before it is sold, he cannot guarantee it will not become sour. The federal director informed the Itathacans that they could obtain permission to manufacture vinegar by filing a $2,000 bond and taking other necessary legal steps.

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Windfalls: Found Apple Poems, A Selection.

4a21388vLOC 
 
– – –
 
Api Panache
 
 
(Panachee).
 
Yellowish green,
 
 
round-ish, small,
 
indifferent;
 
 
October to December ;
 
 
more curious than useful.
 
– – –
 
Bedfordshire Foundling
 
 
(Cambridge Pippin). –
 
Yellow, roundish, oblong, large, kitchen,
 
 
first-rate ;  
 
 
November to March ;
 
 
very handsome, large and ex-cellent.
 
 
Bennet.
 
 
Greenish red, ovate,
 
 
middle-sized,
 
 
cider ;
 
 
November to December ;
 
 
a bitter-sweet. 
 
 
 
 
 

The Gardener”s Monthly Volume.

The Apple

It’s Culture, Uses, and History

1847

by George William Johnson & R. Errington

via googlebooks

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Wassail Traditions: The 5 Key Elements.

The Wassailing

Wassail In 5 Easy Steps.

The 5 Key Elements of Orchard Wassail As Outlined by NACM:

“The rite involves five main elements: gathering around an apple tree, singing the Wassailing song, pouring cider over the tree’s roots, loud noises and a toast.”

Rackham-Winter Trees

1 – Gather Around The Apple Tree.

2 – Sing Wassail Song(s) (There are several traditional songs & many variations).

3 – Pour Cider Over The Tree’s Roots (and place cider-toast in branches).

4 – Make Loud Noises (suggested implements: pots, pans, rattles, musicians, fireworks).

5 – TOAST! Salute the orchard, the apple, and the past & future harvest. (With cider, a Wassail bowl, or punch of your own devising).

Whether in the orchard, city, town, or on the farm, we encourage you to take these elements and discover/explore and create a Wassail event of your own.

Mark your calendars now, and start making plans for Wassail 2015.

NACM Wassail information  at cideruk.com

Rackham Lady's Apple

– Not near an orchard? Seek out local parks, or friendly neighbors with pome fruit trees, sites of trees & orchards of yesteryear, or devise a suitable stand-in, an elegant bowl of apples – or a spray crabapple branches, etc.

– As North American Wassailers we will continue to explore local & regional wassail culture and hope to uncover indigenous tunes & rituals, and share our discoveries for 2015.

Note: Repurposing New Year’s Eve noise-makers is a handy & thrifty way to get your Wassail noise-making kit started.

Images from A Dish of Apples by Eden Phillpotts, illustrated by Arthur Rackham, 1921. View or download at Internet Archive archive.org.

Come All Ye Cider Drinkers And Join In The Wassail!

 

When is Wassail? We suggest observing North American Wassail celebrations from January 5th to  January 17th, 2014.*

Wassail is an informal collaborative effort of interested cider-drinkers in North America (and beyond).

Goals for the 2014 Wassail: Explore Old & New World Wassail Traditions, Salute The Orchard, Honor The Apple and Celebrate With Cider!

How Can You Wassail? It’s Easy! Enjoy cider and a wassail bowl with friends, visit an orchard, cidermaker or local cider-serving establishment and toast the orchard & the apple, or host a Wassail event of your own.

Let us know if you’re planning an event – we’ll post it on the Wassail 2014 page.

Share your Wassailing plans and pictures. Post, tweet, tumble and instagram The Wassail!

* We’re considering Wassailing all the way through January. Why not?!

 

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Wassail Day 1. We Salute Ye Olde Quince Trees.

Wassail Day 1. We Salute Ye Olde Quince Trees.

January 5th, 2014

The Plan: A visit to The Cloisters Museum to Wassail the 4 quince trees that live in the Bonnefont Cloister.

Capital detail Cruxa Cloister

The Wassail Implements: An empty soda can re-filled with dried beans – a bit of tape over the top to secure said beans, and a small travel-size plastic cosmetics bottle filled with 2 oz. of Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandy. Old World, New World Wassail To Go DIY Pocket Kit.*

The Cloisters Museum botanical collection includes pollarded crab apple trees, espaliered pears, exotic potted citrus fruits, and the famed quinces. Snowy conditions made it impossible to access the courtyards where the crab apples and quince reside, we could only view them through the frost-steamed windows of the Cruxa & Bonnefont Cloisters. We wished them a quiet Good Health and Good Fortune and vowed to return when the gardens were accessible in Spring.

A gallery talk, led by a knowledgeable and genial guide, focused on details of medieval life in the winter months, examining the seasonal feasting rituals and agricultural tasks that occupied the waking hours of medieval folk, including the varied wassailing traditions observed in the manor hall, monastery and village.

Pollarded crab apple trees Cruxa Cloister

Pollarded crab apple trees in Cruxa Cloister

Read about the fascinating “medieval technique of hard pruning, known as pollarding” in this article, Woodsman, Pollard That Tree.

*repurposed New Years noisemakers are a perfect addition to the DIY-Wassail To Go Kit.

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Wassail Day 1. Fortifying with Pear Brandy. Olmsted’s Sidecar Cocktail.

Wassail Day 1. Fortifying with Pear Brandy. Olmsted’s Sidecar Cocktail.

January 5, 2014.

The Plan: Locate and Wassail the four famous and beloved quince trees inside The Cloisters Museum at Fort Tryon Park.

As the site of the quince cloister garden IS in a museum – we reasoned our Wassail activities would need to be discrete, if not completely covert. The park was covered with snow, the air was frosty, and we decided a pre-Wassail ‘warming’ beverage to fortify ourselves was in order.

The New Leaf Restaurant & Bar, located in a 1930’s era rustic deco-medieval structure originally built as a concession stand for Fort Tryon Park, proved the perfect spot to enjoy a surprisingly tasty brunch and a Wassail-appropriate cocktail to launch the festivities.

Sidecar

The Cocktail: Olmstead’s Sidecar

Ingredients: Koval Organic Ginger Liqueur, pear cognac, and lemon.

Olmsted’s Sidecar is made with Koval organic ginger liqueur (produced by a craft distillery in Chicago and hand bottled), pear cognac and lemon. Named for Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the landscape architect who planned Fort Tryon Park, which was completed in 1935. He is the son of the designer of Central Park.”

New Leaf Restaurant & Bar newleafrestaurant.com

“New Leaf is an enterprise of the non-profit New York Restoration Project (NYRP). All net proceeds support NYRP’s mission of creating a greener, more sustainable NYC. Learn more at www.nyrp.org.”

KOVAL Distillery www.koval-distillery.com

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The Pagan Rite WASSAIL! Brown, Bradshaw and World’s Best Ciders.

In their extremely useful guide World’s Best Ciders: Taste, Tradition and Terroir, Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw devote a few pages to explore Wassail traditions and celebrations. (The UK cover -pictured- even features the image of a torch-lit wassail).

WBC UK cover

According to Brown & Bradshaw:

“Like all the best traditions, the ritual of wassail is rooted in the past but allows every community to imposes it’s own stamp. It’s growing in popularity because it is an unmediated, unbranded entertainment that links us back to the land and the passing of the seasons.”

Celebrate Wassail: Grab a copy of World’s Best Ciders, pour a glass of cider or mug of wassail, and explore Wassail traditions past and present.

For more of Bill Bradshaw’s Wassail imagery visit IAMCIDER: iamcider.blogspot.com

Sterling Publishing www.sterlingpublishing.com

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These Days of Wassailing

POM00001121

Hello Friends of Cider!  Join us in embracing Wassail in 2014.

We’re observing North American celebrations from January 5th to January 17th, 2014*, from ‘New’ 12th Night Eve to ‘Old’ 12th Night.

Our Goals for The 2014 Wassail: Explore Old & New World Wassail Traditions, Salute The Orchard, Honor The Apple, and Celebrate With Cider.

How are WE Wassailing? To being the festivities, January 5th, 2014, we visited “the four beloved quinces at the Cloisters Museum and Gardens, along the Hudson River in Fort Tryon Park.” The Wassail did not go as planned, but Pomona surprised us with an amazing Wassail Wonder.

Read more about the New York Quinces in this piece In Praise of the Misunderstood Quince by By Michael Tortorello, published May 2, 2012 in the New York Times.

*Note: Our Wassailing activities are likely to continue throughout the month of January 2014, yours can too!

Image: Specimen 8168   Artist: Prestele, William Henry, 1838-1895

Scientific name: Cydonia oblonga  Common name: quinces  Variety: Bourgeat

Source: “U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705″

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It Begins. 13 Days of Wassailing 2014.

Ansel Adams Yosemite

Join Us In Wassailing.

We’re observing North American celebrations from January 5th to January 17th, 2014 – ‘New’ 12th Night Eve to ‘Old’ 12th Night – and posting daily about our Wassail adventures. Stay tuned.

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A Bit About Wassailing.

The Wassail (Charles Rennie Mackintosh)About Wassailing From the National Association of Cider Makers:

“Wassailing is the chief custom associated with cider apple trees. The word wassail is derived from the Anglo Saxon ‘wes hal’ meaning ‘good health’ or ‘be whole’. The earliest written records of wassailing date from the late 17th century.

This custom is performed to protect the trees from evil spirits and to make them bear a plentiful crop and is still carried out in the West of England. The rite involves five main elements: gathering around an apple tree, singing the Wassailing song, pouring cider over the tree’s roots, loud noises and a toast.

The pouring of cider over the roots symbolised the carrying forward of the life juice of the tree from one year to the next. It was also the custom to place a cider-soaked piece of toasted bread in the fork of the tree to attract good spirits while guns were fired into the trees so as to frighten away the evil spirits. The health of the tree would then be drunk as often as was felt necessary. Nowadays, it is traditional to hold the rite on Twelfth Night.

Over time, the custom was adapted and added to, so that each area had its own variation. The date for instance varied, and old tea kettles and tin trays might be clattered together to scare away the spirits instead of firing guns. In Herefordshire it was traditional for Morris Men to take part by dancing around the trees.”

Source: National Association of Cider Makers.

Link: www.cideruk.com

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A Call To Wassail. January 5th -17th, 2014.

The Wassail (Charles Rennie Mackintosh)

A Call To Wassail. January 5th – 17th, 2014.

Hello Friends of Cider!

We ask YOU the cider community to join us in embracing Wassail in 2014.

What is Wassail?

Wikipedia:

“The Orchard-Visiting wassail refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider-producing regions of England, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year.”

Herefordshire Times:

“Steeped in history, wassailing is traditionally held on the Twelfth Night after Christmas and performed in orchards to awaken the apple trees from their winter slumber and ward off bad spirits.”

When is Wassail?

We propose to observe North American celebrations from January 5th to  January 17th, 2014. (‘New’ 12th Night Eve to ‘Old’ 12th Night – more about that later).

Goals for the 2014 Wassail:

Explore Old & New World Wassail Traditions

Salute The Orchard

Honor The Apple

Celebrate With Cider

How Can You Wassail?

Enjoy cider and a wassail bowl with friends.

Visit an orchard, cidermaker or local cider-serving establishment and toast the orchard & the apple.

Host a Wassail Event.

Let us know if you plan an event – we’ll post it on our Wassail 2014 page.

The 2014 Wassail Theme: Discover Wassail.

We hope this will be an informal collaborative effort and an annual event for the growing cider community in North America.

The Wassail (Charles Rennie Mackintosh)

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Views from New Amsterdam Winter Market 2013

Images of floral beauty taken at the stall of, and garland making demonstration lead by, Emily Thompson of Emily Thompson Flowers www.emilythompsonflowers.com

Thank You to Rowan Imports for cider, and to Sterling Publishing, Countryman Press, Storey Publishing, Timber Press, Ten Speed Press, Chelsea Green Publishing, Johns Hopkins University Press, and Running Press for all the wonderful books included in our raffle gift baskets for the November & December Markets. Thank You All for helping us support New Amsterdam Market and share the cider joy.

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