It was interesting to see their industrial cider scene too, that gave us a good idea of the market size here and how fast its growing... its incredible. Woodchuck cider are growing about 25% a year...J
What is also interesting is how different their cider flavour profile is here. Its predomanentnly made from dessert apples with some traditional cider varieties included to introduce some tannin, but no where near what you might expect in comparison to a traditional Somerset cider. the market just ins't here at the moment for really dry tannic ciders so their tradition has a milder approach. There are of course exceptions to every rule and Judith Maloney from West County Cider is the one we found. Her ciders are much more familiar in flavour to me and one you could compare quite readily to a well made UK artisan cider. They're really delicious, we only had about 45mins there because we had a flight to catch but it left an impression.
Ice Cider is a new thing to me and its delicious. We stayed overnight at Eden Cider Cider right up at the top of Vermont. I can't go into the intricacies of making it, but its delicious. More of a dessert or aperitif style wine and goes SO well the cheese.
Because much of the cider is made from dessert apples and the hard cider tradition seems to have been re-born out of a 'U-pick' your own fruit basis, the orchards have a very different look too. The trees here often look more like the tree you see in your grannys garden because they're pruned to pick fruit from the ground. Coupled with the fact that the law here prevents growers from grazing the same land with livestock the rest of the year if they want to sell juice (something I find crazy) there's no need to have the standard or semi standard tree that you would associate with a traditional UK cider orchard. They look prettier here, lower fatter branches that the kids would love to scramble all over and more picturesque. Slyboro had particularly lovely looking orchards but it was pissing with rain no stop the short time I was there so I was unable to photograph anything spectacular unfortunately. They're really worth a visit if you are in New York state.
Farnhum Hill are doing some really interesting stuff and Steve Woods has been steering the cider scene in New England for about 20 years and is a well known character in cider. He's been trailblazing the US cidermaking scene here for 20 years or more.
Anyway, today is the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association festival held at the funnest cider farm I've ever been to Uncle Johns Cider where Pete Brown & I are giving a joint talk on our adventures in cider so far so I best go and prepare.