We managed to put up about 60 gallons of perry in 2015/16 from gleaned pears around our area. Pears are harder to come by than apples, and we’ll have to wait until our young perry trees begin to bear fruit to increase production. How exciting the future is!
2015 marks our rite of passage into the Elder Maple bush of the Clark Farm in procurement of Maple Wine. These majestic trees tower above us, their crowns dancing in the spring light, as we boil down their nutrient-rich sap. As the earth begins to warm and the blood of these trees begins it’s levitational upsurge to the canopy above, we respond with spouts, buckets and masonry hearth, which becomes our temple in the bush. We’re experimenting with evaporating this sap down to various sugar concentrations that will result in maple wines. Because maple sap lacks an inherent acid-tannin complex to make good wine, we blend in various fruits or herbs. Who knew R&D could be so fun? There were many lessons learned after our first season; one being that the R&D phase will last longer than we originally thought!
Honey Wine (Mead)
Honey is made by a magical process wherein nectar from flowers is brought back to the hive by worker bees, who then pre-digest this nectar by a complex process involving regurgitation and enzymes. Water is removed by evaporation, induced by the fanning of the bee’s wings, thereby preserving the honey. Bee keepers facilitate colonies of bees by providing the framework – a hive for bees to live and perform their alchemical dance. Honey is extracted from the hive near the end of the flower flush, which here in Vermont starts with the budding of Maples in the forest and emerging crowns of Dandelions, and ends with the the massing of Goldren Rod and Queen Anne’s Lace. The bees, among other ranks of pollinators, are responsible for the maturation of much of the fruit of our farms, including the sweet flesh of the apple from which we make our cider. Spring water or Spring sap from trees is then added to the honey with natural yeasts to begin the process of fermentation. We will begin production of our honey wines the Winter of 2016. Our intention is to make dry, sour meads in combination with various herbs and fruits. Honey wines do best with age, so it may be some time before you begin to see them on the shelves.
the antidote to alcohol
Central to our mission as farmers and winemakers is to provide local people with healthful foodways. Our style of winemaking, which allows oxygenation in the cellar, can also lead to the formation of healthy vinegar. Cider vinegar is an age-old local cure-all, critical for any home apothecary. It is a probiotic, enzymatic elixir of life. If strong enough, cider vinegar can be used to preserve food from the garden. And there are an endless amount of uses for vinegar as a cleaning agent around home and office. When alcohol is abused, a teaspoon of strong vinegar and honey diluted in water is sometimes used as a hangover remedy. As we grow as a farm-based winery, keep a look out for our vinegars.