Fermentations, Ruminations & Meditations
Cider Batches 412 & 512
The Cidery has been a whirlwind this past month and I got behind in posting Batch notes for #412 & #512. We've been having lively debates about how best to label and define the batches since there are a few factors we are considering: when the juice gets pressed, when it begins fermenting and when it gets bottled. At this point, we are numbering the batches according to the month we bottle since that seems the most straightforward. But we also want to share some of the background story of life on the bottling line.
This Spring, a part of the story that made us sweat a bit was the Great Bottle Delay. The 500 ml bottles we currently use for our smaller ciders come from Germany. This is a bottle that several cider producers agreed to order together. However, international shipment is a challenge and this spring we experienced a long, drawn-out delay when the ship with our container of glass was re-routed to Colombia and then held up in US customs. Then there was some sort of crime scene at the docks that prevented customs from releasing the freight. We called for daily updates and waited with crossed fingers for confirmation of delivery. They did arrive, finally, but the experience has made us very interested finding a locally-produced bottle. We'll see what we find!
While Keith manages the overall operation of orchards and cidery, life in the production barn relies heavily on Chris, our main production assistant. Pressing, pumping, bottling, filtering, pasteurizing, labeling, hauling, plowing...he can do it all. Meanwhile, Janet and Jeff, while managing the farm, continue the rigorous job of hand-riddling four racks of the 750 ml bottles daily and do most of the disgorging of the méthode champeniose ciders. Our bubbly cider technique is inspired by the French of course, but refined by Chimacum farmers for sure.
These spring cider batches represent a time of growth for us, like so many of the living things around us. The valley turns greener, the animals grow, the seedlings sprout, and the barn starts to fill with stacks of cider cases. It's a gratifying sight for sure.