Bear Swamp Orchard & Cidery

Certified Organic Hard Ciders and Apples

End of season reflection

As usual, our retail season was a blur of constant activity. Since all of our apples are midseason varieties, we are restricted to a short season of availability, so all the work of the entire year culminates in four or five weeks of retail sales. We were happy to have so many people come pick apples here, though we were sorry that the last day we were open there were too few apples left on the trees to offer U-pick. Given how slowly trees grow, we are unable to expand either our season or our volume of apples very quickly. As always, talking with folks about food and sustainability, and watching people enjoy our orchard, are rewards for the hard work we put in. We wouldn’t get any of that by selling wholesale.
Now that the apples are picked, we can finish the last tasks. We had the help of both Steve and Jen’s parents this season, so we were able to blitz the Freedoms after we closed, picking the last apples off the trees and cleaning fallen fruit out from underneath. We were able to do a much better job making sure the orchard is cleaned up thanks to their help. Steve has been pressing for hard cider, so we are filling our fermenting vessels this week. We still have to put the orchard to bed, fitting cages around the young trees to protect them from rodents, and spreading compost to replace the nutrients we removed by harvesting apples. We are also finishing up work that was put on hold during the height of orchard season, like getting firewood ready, and canning applesauce. We do love pick-your-own season, but it is intense, with every second filled. Cider Days comes at just the right time, when we’ve caught up on the tasks we had to put off, and are happy to chat about apples again.

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