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The little joys of the season
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jducoeur
Last month, ladysprite led an apple-picking expedition. As usual, I tagged along, and as usual, I stopped at Derby Farms on the way home.

The land of Stowe is covered with big orchards and farmstands, and most of them are jammed to bursting in October. Derby Farm is the exception: it's a quiet little barn, on the right hand side of the road as I make my way home along Route 117. It's not so big, and not so fancy. But it has two important things going for it:

1) They don't pasteurize their cider.
2) They have the best native yeast I have ever found.

Hence, my annual recipe for hard cider:

1) Buy half a gallon of cider from Derby Farm.
2) Put it in the fridge.
3) Ignore it for a month.
4) Rescue it when the bottle is visibly bulging, before it explodes.

The result is thick and fizzy, very real and viscerally apple-y in a way that bottled hard cider never is. Knock on wood, I've never had a bottle go bad on me. I only get half a gallon each year (I just don't have room to make more), but opening that bottle is one of November's highlights for me...

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Have you tried reserving a part of the bottle and seeding another bottle from a different source? Any luck?

Haven't tried that. Interesting idea -- I might try it sometime...

This sounds lovely!
Now I want to find a local place that makes cider!

The hard part, at least around here, is finding a place that makes *unpasteurized* cider. At least in MA, it is usually pasteurized in order to kill off all the nasty bugs; unfortunately, that tends to kill the yeasties as well...

I think we have a place that does that. But I'll have to check.

I did this inadvertently in California. I bought Cider, tried it, and didn't like it much. So put it away at room temp for about a week and a half.

When I tried it again ... YUM.

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