This morning I got into a car with rushthatspeaks
and we all drove off for two hours to western Mass (thanks in part to the phone GPS lady) to Cider Days, because we love apples. It was rainy and chilly, but we got food before starting to drink, bought $5 glasses, and then joined the gigantic over-capacity hard cider sampling and discussion panel room.
The panel involved lots of fascinating jargon, lots of semi-reasonable molecular biology, and plenty of delicious and unusual ciders. People were coming around with bottles of each cider the panel talked about, and all the panelists seemed to work together to make ciders from Pine Hill Orchards juice. It got pretty hot in there, so between that and the ciders' alcohol content (usually around 10%) I was ready to go before the end. We didn't leave until after they called out us late-coming youngsters and said how great it was that we were interested in cider-making, though. :)
I was really there to taste local apple varieties, though, and I got to do that next. It was raining enough that I had to take notes on my phone instead of on paper, but that worked out pretty well despite autocorrect's attempts to interfere. Lots of apples from Second Chance Orchard were laid out on long folding tables with labels under each, and you just picked up one of the many little knives and cut them yourself. (Not what I'm used to, but sure!) The standouts of that tasting were the King David, a great crisp apple with well balanced flavors, and the absolutely delicious Sweet Winter Pennock. I also loved the Jaegers Reinette (my notes read "sweet perfect"), and Bancrofts seem like they'd be great for cooking.
We got cider doughnuts, which were excellent, and looked around the tents a little. I felt bad for not buying things, since we were some of the few people there in the rain, but I do not actually require any very nice baskets.
Next stop, Clarkdale Fruit Farms
! More of the old heirlooms I'm used to, like Cox's Orange Pippin and Ashmead's Kernal, but also intriguing new names like Westfield Seek-No-Further ("delicious balanced") and Hubbardston Nonesuch ("sweet good"). The Enterprise is a better tarter Empire, and something that autocorrect turned into "Crimson Gold" had almost a syrupy start but developed into a really delicious experience. I found a new favorite for my apple favorites list, the Esopus Spitzenberg ("complex strong well balanced") and bought a quarter peck of them, along with some Golden Russets, which have a cool bimodal flavor profile, sweet at the core and tarter outside. I will love this farm forever for having a chart on the wall of where the varieties arose. Esopus Spitzenberg is a NY native, it seems.
On the way home, we stopped at a Friendly's. Nostalgia value for rushthatspeaks
and me! Valuable protein for everyone!This entry was originally posted at http://jinian.dreamwidth.org/641557.html. Respond wherever you like.