Over a month ago I got a call from our friends at Burgess Lea about some apples. Buz and Janet operate their publishing house on the grounds of an old apple farm. Some of the trees are very, very old and were grafted with only one purpose in mind - cider.
Buz called them summer apples because they ripen earlier in the year than other varieties. He had far more than he needed or could use and offered them to me. There were far more than I could use, so I called Josh. Josh got his hands on a cider press and early one August morning we drove the pickup over to Burgess Lea.
We picked over seven bushels of apples, some big and blushed, others the size of crabapples with a tart-sweet pucker. We blended them together sent them through the gears of Josh's borrowed press, then poured the fresh cider into carboys where it bubbled away until now.
There was no need to add yeast to the cider, like we would have to with conventionally grown apples. These are never sprayed and have a mottled bloom covering their skins - wild yeast that thrives on their hosts' sweet juice. The wild yeast took over, ate the sugars, and I'm left with a bone dry, crystal clear hard cider.
It's time to siphon off the hard cider, add a little fresh cider to encourage carbonation, and place it in bottles, freeing up the carboys for all those fall apples. Cheers! -IK