Our post'n'beam barn was built with a cidery addition in mind. Construction started last summer, with the current focus being to finish the interior in time for the 2020 harvest season. A vintage commercial cider press awaits restoration. A refrigerated bulk tank must be set up. What's especially needed are more individuals and families to join what will be a membership club centered around old-fashioned fun.
We're hoping that includes you.
Let's start with the requisite backstory... Federal law only allows unpasteurized cider to be sold directly by the farm, and some states don't even allow this. Real Cider tastes so good! and has the sorts of healthy enzymes and antioxidants you would expect in a living food. Keeping the craft of artisan cidermaking alive requires innovative thinking. Reasonable safety results when caring craftsmanship meets plain ol' common sense (like pressing handpicked fruit) in the making of sweet cider. The choice to drink the real thing should ultimately be up to each individual.
Investment in cider pressing equipment, pumps, and stainless tanks is not going to earn exorbitant returns as much as simply make the 'nectar of the gods' flow again in our corner of the world. We're a small farm in mountain country dependent on Nature to deliver apple harvests that can pay the bills. Going into debt is not an option. All this sparked the idea to give people who care about local agriculture a chance to join us in a community-based venture.
A good apple year at Lost Nation Orchard will result in copious amounts of sweet cider being available. Finding one hundred shareholders to share in this bounty sounds about right. Raising the necessary capital for infrastructure investment sets the cost of a share at a modest $250. Our freshly pressed cider can then be purchased at two dollars less per gallon than the going market price for organic juice. That clean and simple return for shareholders ensures this farm's future. Apples pressed for juicing can now be appropriately valued to cover production costs. All comes round when we keep things local.
Nearly every question you might have about the Lost Nation Cider Club will be answered in the contract. Wondering about custom pressing? It's there. Concerned about transferring your share? It's there. This is not an arrangement where you need chug a weekly allotment of sweet cider, rather, the juice awaits only when you choose to enjoy it. Take a look and see what you think.
Together we have found a way to establish member-ownership and thus shift regulatory reach. Such thinking has been upheld in raw milk cooperatives where individuals buy a share in the cow and thus no official can stop you from drinking your milk, unpasteurized or not. Sweet cider would work similarly. You wouldn't actually buy fresh juice but rather pay for the apples from which the juice was made and the labor and costs involved in pressing and refrigeration. Beyond that, let's be courteous and kind to each other, eh?
Sweet cider will get pressed in-season, as apple varieties ripen. Typically we are open on Friday-Saturday-Sunday for fresh apples sales in the months of September and October. Freshly pressed juice will await members on these weekends. Additional club dates will be announced later in November and December for holiday pressings. Members would bring their returnable jugs (provided by the orchard) and refill as desired at the reduced price. Members also receive a 10% discount on bagged fruit, making the trip 'out on the nation' even more worthwhile.
Elsewhere in the world the term cider means the fermented juice of the apple. What wine does for grapes, cider does for apples. Distinctions like this clearly have no patience for the apple wine of one's youth!
Here in the United States, our forebears split this clarity asunder. Sweet cider implies freshly pressed juice that can turn wonderfully fizzy over the course of a few weeks. Let time bring this alchemy to a successful conclusion, and the result is hard cider, the fully fermented juice of the apple.
Enter in apple juice, pasteurized for shelf life. This can be filtered and crappy (as found in the supermarket) or legitimately canned at home for flavor and body. What's called sweet cider on the mass market today should be referred to as 'apple drool' in my opinion as this is pasteurized juice trying to claim a memory of times gone by. It's no wonder French-speaking friends attempt to clarify all this confusion by asking if sweet (real) cider might better be called the 'soft' juice. So goes the melding of vernacular between neighboring cultures.
This discussion continues in our speakeasy where we explore the nuance of apple alcohol.
Let Michael know of your commitment to Real Cider sooner rather than later by initialing and signing our press share contract and sending along the requested payment. Press shares will continue to be available till the first hundred are claimed, after which there's always the ol' waiting list.
Now at 45 shares and hoping you do!