As the 2022 growing season enters its harvest season I am finding stark beauty in the way that nature finds its equilibrium. Our orchard is not a machine, a unit of production. It is a living breathing ecosystem. And this year, much like the wild apple trees, it is resting after last year's massively abundant crop. There are many interventions to overcome the apple's natural tendency toward biennielasm in today's production focused world of farming-- from arduous (and economically impossible) hand thinning, to synthetic chemicals that partially abort heavy crops. But we've closed our eyes, held our breath, and jumped into letting the natural cycles dictate our harvests and our ciders. It's a surrender to austerity this year and I think that is a relief as much to the human component of our farm as to the plant one.
2022 was a drought year. At least during the growing season. Lots of sun and just enough summer thunder showers to avert crisis. The trees responded with less growth and smaller apples. Sugars are high, but not crazily so, and the fruit is dense, mineral-ly and flavorful. A balanced response to a year of scarcity. Much of the Albee Hill orchard is taking a rest this year and we'll probably only make a barrel or two of our signature Albee Hill cider. In the Newfield orchard, we have more fruit, including a stellar Northern Spy harvest from our beloved 40 year old trees. In the wild, there's almost no apples to be found but a surprising and delightful bounty of pears.
The 2022 harvest is high quality, sparse and surprising. The challenge is to pick what we can in the brief time we have and make something evocative and interesting out of it. An effort fueled by the prospect of an early finish and a much needed rest.
Included in this post are some spectacular photos taken by Melissa Jones for the recent Pellicle article on Eve’s Cidery by Adam Well. We so appreciated the way Adam and Melissa captured the essence of our work in writing and photos.
Sept 21, 2022
Written by Adam Wells
Photos by Melissa Jones