Don’t get me wrong, I love a good jumping-goats-apple-train-roll-in-the-corn-bin orchard Saturday as much as the next local, but perhaps not EVERY Saturday. In truth sometimes I get tired of the doodads and the craziness that makes me almost forget we’re at an actual fruit producing farm. This is just one of the reasons I like Sweetland Orchard, besides the juicy apples you can find there … you get a map, you stroll the orchard, you might share a moment with a chicken, you might not.
Not that these cats are joyless. In fact, it might just be that they have a more adult and sophisticated way of celebrating the apple season: hard cider. This weekend, owners Mike & Gretchen Perbix are rolling out this season’s libations: Scrumpy Gold, Scrumpy Sweet, Northern Spy, and Roundabout. “Scrumpy is our basic hard cider. Gold is blended with an extremely tannic sweet cider and Sweet is blended with our regular sweet cider. Northern Spy is a single variety cider made with Northern Spy apples, and Roundabout is our experimental label. For Roundabout, we’ll put a batch number on each label and use it to play around, get feedback, and figure out what we want as a permanent addition to the line” says Gretchen.
On to the shindig! This Saturday around 4pm onward, the orchard is bringing in a few friends to help roll it all out in style. Erick Harcey of Victory 44 is roasting the pig, Solveig Tofte from Sun Street is baking the bread, Rustica is bringing the cookies, there will be beer from Indeed Brewing, and Dogwood will be warming you with some cuppa cuppa while Ben Kyle of Romantica strums a little acoustic set. Your ticket includes all this, plus a bonfire, apple picking, and a run at the new ciders.
And here’s the deal … you know how this season hasn’t been particularly awesome for apple growers? All those pals and chums listed above are doing this gratis for the orchard so that your $25 ticket can go to support them. Helping a family farm has never been so nummy.