As you know, apple farming and cider making are an art. Bear in mind though, "art" is the root word of "artificial", and surprising as this may sound: art and nature are etymological opposites. It is an oxymoron, for instance, to use the term “natural farming” when farms don’t happen on their own. Nor does cider or wine. How much -or how little -they deviate from nature is part of the art. Driven by expectations, including everything from nutrition to aesthetic pleasure, Man cultivates. ("Man" is the root word of "manipultion," BTW.) But having spent the last 25 years foraging apples in the wild, I’m in the unique position of observing the actual distance between the two. I’ve even developed a reputation for it. Nonetheless, I’m still hopeful, or determined, to close the gap between Nature and our expectations and this curiosity is what our ciders are all about.
... This is why despite having a minimal-intervention orchard of our own, 100% of the fruit in our Homestead "locational"ciders comes from wild-foraged apples integrated in the bigger world. A better sense of terrior, for instance, can be achieved this way. As the goal is to let the story the tree’s adaptation to Nature be the lede, it therefore doesn’t make sense to manipulate the ciders beyond simple racking and bottling. We bottle in the spring just before final sugar completion and they finish off dry with slight natural carbonation. From seed to glass, it’s as simple and pure as we can make it (even by organic wine standards these ciders are unrivaled as the extreme of “natural”), but in the end they are still Art.
… I have volumes of more information regarding our experiences and experiments to be published in my book “Uncultivated” due out early 2019 (Chelsea Green Publishing.) Please email email@example.com and we will send the update! –Andy Brennan