Where Will We Get Our Apples?
A lot of people ask us where we’ll get our apples from. When we started working on this project a year ago, our plan was to work with local orchards to source apples for our cider. We met with an old friend whose family owns an apple orchard, and she dropped some wisdom on us that was a bit surprising: Indiana sells all the apples they grow, and in fact, we have to import apples from Washington state and China just to supply everyone with enough apples to eat! In other words, while we have several orchards sprinkled throughout the state, we don’t come close to having enough extras laying around to fuel a large cider company.
Another issue: the great majority of apples grown in Indiana are considered dessert apples - the kind you can pick up and eat or use to make an apple pie. Historically, those aren’t the kinds of apples that are used in traditional cider-making. Now, lots of cideries in the States use dessert apples to make their cider. We plan to, too, for a lot of our products. But having traditional cider apples available can bring a complexity to cider that is hard to get with dessert apples alone. Can’t we have both?
Luckily, our friendly neighbor to the north, Michigan, is an apple powerhouse. They are usually tied for second place in the nation with New York (behind Washington) in apple production in the States, and they also have the infrastructure to package, store, and ship their apples. They have a seemingly endless supply of dessert apples, but they also have a lot of folks growing traditional cider apples as well plenty of apples that are good for cider-making as well as eating, like Northern Spy, Jonagold and Gold Rush.
So, what’s our plan? For the majority of our ciders, we’ll ship juice down from Michigan. We can get different blends to fit with the style of cider we’re making and get a good mix of sweet, tart, and bitter to make a flavorful cider with a lot of complexity.
We’ll also work with those Indiana orchards as much as possible. The busy season for apple orchards usually runs from Labor Day weekend through Thanksgiving, but come December 1st, people aren’t thinking about apples anymore. Unfortunately, plenty of apples are still on trees in December, so orchards end up pressing the juice to stock their shelves throughout the winter or having an excess of apples that they can’t sell. This is where we hope to come in and help them extend their growing season by buying up those late winter apples so that we can showcase the orchards around the state and make a truly local cider. We can’t wait to share it with you!