And so the Cider Flows…
Heavy apple trees this year means lots and lots of fresh apple cider, our blend of squeezed whole apples unfiltered and raw, soft brown in darkness and rich gold in light, sticky and volatile. Dryness and warmth during the spring blossoming was like a hardwood floor had emerged from under the fruit orchard and a disco ball dropped from the clouds, with even the most bashful and winter-weary little bees finding a date to dance with. Massive fruit set was clear from the get go, and equally obvious was our unwillingness to find each cluster and painstakingly thin down to the one or two most centerfold- worthy gems. No thinning can be problematic in cases of branch break and encouragement of pests, but our own energy channels through the frames of the trees and has held up very well. Scab, earwigs, and assorted other bugs are no enemy to the purveyor of fine cider, just fibrous masses given prime habitat and then timely pre-winter execution.
Apple boxes underwent annual refurbishment with sixth and seventh generation bottom panels gleaming aside uber weathered originals. Picking involves exploration and research; first find trees guilty of dropping their apples and pick pick pick before they hit the ground and lose all value for public consumption. I’m always reminded at this stage that mostly all tree borne fruit has evolved to highlight rotund spherical qualities, so that apple pickers may be stymied when a fruit rolls under the wrong tree, an art of deception and finger-pointing not usually conferred to the Apple (Malus. Malice?) Family. Then comes time to turn on the taste buds and make like a Portland foodie, nipping off bits of apple and deciding readiness through esoteric declarations of comparison and appreciation for the under appreciated. “Eeeeeek. This apple isn’t ready. Hold up, hold up. After sitting in the back of my mouth for 4 seconds the chardonnay tones and smooth nasality are like Ella meets Mick. Pick them, pick them all!” 12 boxes, plus three giant round totes filled for each pressing.
And then the part about turning over 700 pounds of apples into 30 gallons of nectar in one morning while delivering to the public in the same day. Person power is key. The apple spotlight is lit the night before and all cider superheroes emerge in unison at 8am. As though it were a pancaked car trapping a helpless family, Ali clears the wreckage by powering full boxes up and dumping apples into a light sanitizing solution. Emma levitates the apples out of the tub and onto a mesh screen, culling out the villains and rinsing the good citizens of pathogens with water jet palm blasts. Serah gathers up glistening apples and pulverizes them to a pulp with the mastery of 17 different martial arts techniques plus superhuman recuperation abilities for round after round. With the pulp gathered in mesh bags seated inside of cylindrical wooden frames, the final stage is set. Big Don, using a curious combination of brutality and grace, harnesses the force of a thousand elephants for an alchemical effect as liquid gold materializes, cascades and collects.
And so the cider flows. We do this not just for the fair citizens of this valley, but also because we adore the pleasant and ubiquitous bitterness of Malic Acid paired with frightening levels of sweetness. We love apples like jaded 90’s PC owners. We love having the chance to crank something out, not metaphorically. Join us on Thursdays to show off your superpowers or find the good stuff at our beautiful Brownsville Saturday Farmers’ Market.