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Fruit and Cider Talk from Calais, Vermont. Maintained by Terry Bradshaw, fruit guy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tree Fruit Production Course at UVM this summer

I don't normally blend my day job and online selves, but this is going to be a great program offered at the University of Vermont this summer (click the video pane if it won't embed):

Summer-U at UVM Horticulture Farm from UVM Continuing Education on Vimeo.

Farmward Bound

This highly-flexible, innovative, hands-on program is designed for aspiring farmers, agriculture leaders, and people interested in learning about the food system first hand. The summer Farmward Bound Program features intensive two week farm-based residential experiences in which students have the opportunity live and learn from successful local farmers. By working on three to four different farms of different sizes students will gain an understanding of multiple approaches to contemporary small scale sustainable agriculture....

My course:

PSS 195: Tree Fruit Culture.
Class Schedule: Tuesdays and Fridays from June 15 to July 9, 2010. 8:45 AM - 3:45 PM.
Three Credits.
Instructor: Terence Bradshaw.

Students will learn principles and practices of commercial tree fruit production, including site selection and preparation, varietal selection, tree training, nutrient, water and pest management, harvest and post harvest considerations. Special emphasis will be placed on environmental and economic sustainability of the orchard system. The class will apply knowledge of integrated horticultural and pest management practices in a real orchard setting.

Pre/co-requisites: PSS 10 or 21 or 1 semester biology or permission.

The class format will consist of a combination of classroom lectures, hands-on fieldwork, and visits to local commercial orchards.

For more information contact course instructor Terence Bradshaw:

Monday, February 01, 2010

RIP Terry Maloney, West County Ciders

Yesterday I saw a Facebook blurb from Aeppeltrow Winery that simply said, " Farewell, Terry Maloney. You will remain an inspiration. American cidermakers are all your scion and we will bear good fruit for you, forever." More info came in a quickly assembled Cider Digest this morning:

Subject: RIP Terry Maloney
From: Ben Watson
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 2010 13:53:44 -0500

Dear Fellow Cider Digesters,

It is my sad duty to report the untimely death of one of the best-known and
best-loved of America's craft cidermakers -- Terry Maloney of West County
Cider in Colrain, Massachusetts.

Terry died in what can only be described as a freak accident yesterday
(Friday) in the basement cidermaking room at his home. From what I
understand, a piece of filtration equipment full of cider under pressure
"exploded" with sufficient force to knock Terry back, and he hit his head
hard, causing his death.

Already this morning (Sat), some of Terry's closest friends in the cider
community have been on the phone with one another, discussing this shocking
and unexpected event. In the course of time, I'm sure that we will organize
at least one memorial or tribute (and probably more) to this gentle,
affectionate man who -- as much as anyone -- was responsible (along with
his terrific wife Judith) for the modern rebirth of cider culture in the

I first met Judith and Terry Maloney more than 20 years ago, and we almost
immediately became friends. The Maloneys came to western Massachusetts with
experience from California vineyards. The beautiful hill towns of Franklin
County, MA are a traditional apple-growing and cider-making region, so Terry
and Judith began a winery that focused on locally grown fruits like apples
and blueberries. Over the years, they have everything from unfiltered Farm
Cider (still one of my favorites) to artfully crafted cidre doux and a whole
range of distinguished varietals that included Reine de Pomme, Baldwin,
Roxbury Russet, Kingston Black, and the astonishingly good, copper-colored
Redfield, a signature product of West County Cider and an example of Terry's
skill as both a cidermaker and fruit grower.

In addition to making their own cider, Terry and Judith have been central
players in promoting craft ciders from all over the US -- as founders and
organizers of the annual Cider Days festival, which over the past 15+ years
has provided an ever-expanding showcase of the best American ciders. All of
us -- producers and drinkers alike -- owe the Maloneys our profound respect
and gratitude.

Those of us who knew Terry personally will always remember him as a
thoughtful, soft-spoken, cultured, but also passionate man, and will miss
him greatly. But Terry's death is also a loss to many in the cider world who
never met him -- he was a real pioneer who showed the way for so many of
today's craft producers. He willed be missed.

As I hear of any tributes or memorials being planned, I will try to pass
along that information to everyone.

Respectfully yours,

Ben Watson
Francestown, NH

This is sad news for all cidermakers, and for all of us as human beings. Terry was a real inspiration to many, myself included. I concur with those who ask that we raise a glass in respect, and continue to ply our craft in his honor.

Live today as if it's your last, it might be, and remember to leave smiles and good thoughts behind.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Holiday break squarings way

10 cases bottles washed, three kegs cider bottled, three transferred to
vinegar tank. Vinegar tank all insulated and heater running. General
tidying (although it doesn't look it), airlocks topped, the cider room
is in pretty good shape right now.

Hardest part was deciding which three kegs to send to vinegar.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Patience, people!

This time around Christmas usually finds me straightening things up in
the cider cellar. With my day job generally off for a couple of weeks,
and the first of the 'oh yeah it's here' winter settling in, time can be
found to wash bottles, rack carboys, check airlocks, wash bottles,
bottle a little Christmas cider, wash bottles, you get it. Today I
cleaned six cases of bottles, racked and topped a bunch of cider, and
did some general tidying up. A little concerning was the 'big tank'
variable fermenter that I usually do keeves/sweeter ciders in. I knew it
was there, but just today got around to pulling the trash bag off the
(open) top and setting the sealed lid in place. This should be
open top fermenter two months after squeezing, kept in a cold,
slow-fermenting area is a textbook oxidation case. Yes, the cider tasted
a little off, even acetic a bit. This may be the closest I have come to
unintentional vinegar making. Of course, I sell vinegar, and always
make extra cider so that my 'lesser liquids' can be converted for sale,
so that's not too bad...I just wasn't counting on an extra 12 cases this
After dinner I visited the cellar again. Last year I had a similar
problem, but instead of forgetting to put the lid on, I failed to check
the seal, so the resulting 25 gallons of cider got pretty oxidized, and
tasted a bit acidic, a sign of volatile (acetic) acid buildup. I kegged
it up this past summer to make carboy/tank space, but planned on
pitching it in the vinegar tank this winter. As a quick test, I pitched
a pack of malo-lactic bacteria each in two kegs and set them in the
furnace side of the basement. ML bacteria convert sharp-tasting malic
acid to softer lactic acid, this technique is used in many wines.
Tonight I compared a snort of the pre- and post-ML ciders, and damn if
they both weren't pretty good. Not great, but not ready for the salad
dressing either.
Which brings me to my point. People often ask me about how long to wait
to drink their cider, and I tell them a year. The truth is, all sorts
of things can happen over time, and given a robust, tannic, balanced
juice blend, time is generally your friend in cider (or wine) making.
Rough flavors tend to mellow, sharp acids tend to soften, subtle notes
open up. Time will often help a funky cider, but if after a year it's
still off, open up the vinegar tank. This pertains generally to
unbalanced, maybe over sharp, sometimes slightly oxidized ciders. A
truly nasty one should be tossed at any time.
Even though I'm considered a big 'cider guy', I admit that I'm not great
with my precise cider analysis- ethyl acetate vs diacetyl and the like.
I like my customers, and friends, to feel that a good cider can be made
without a bunch of expensive words and equipment. Start with good juice,
ferment it clean and cool, minimize any messing with it, and enjoy in a
year. Works for me.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Cider Season 2009 Comes to a Close

After a busy weekend, and plenty more cleaning up to do tomorrow, the
Lost Meadow 2009 Cider Season is closed, at least the retail end. I
still have my fermenting stocks to tend to (including my annual keeve
that I'll set up tomorrow), as do many of the smart/lucky folks who
stepped up to get their share.

The 2009 season by the numbers:

Weekends open: 8...definitely too many, next year we'll shave a few off
in September. I don't expect to decrease total production much if any,
just concentrate on those peak weeks.
Number of pressings: 42
Total gallons squeezed: 828
Fermenting blends: 55% of total, we'll bump that up next year
Profit (cash in - apples and expendable supplies): $1623. This doesn't
account for equipment, space, improvements, my orchard (or its apples),
trucking, or any other indirect/fixed costs.
Estimated wage/hour: ~$10, ignoring the above considerations.

Getting rich? Hell no, and a P&L sheet would have me losing money.
Having fun? Of course, that's why we do it. Tired and ready for a
break? You bet, we'll do it again next year. Looking forward to this
season's cidre, come spring? Of course.

Thanks folks,


Monday, October 26, 2009

Last Call for 2009 cider

This weekends marks the end of the squeezin' season at Lost Meadow Cider
Mill, so if you want to put up a carboy, let me know ASAP, it will sell
out. I have a better selection of fruit than ever and will be making
some nice custom blends. $7 a gallon, $35 fills a standard carboy. I
can supply the carboy, stopper, and airlock as well with a little
notice. I'll also be finishing the sweet cider squeezes this weekend as
well, so anyone who wants to put jugs in the freezer should stock up.
For larger orders (3+ gallons) reservations are encouraged; I've been
selling out of sweet jug juice every week lately.

You've been warned,