Harvest at Dowse Orchards Block


We planted a block of cider apple trees six years ago on semi-dwarf and standard rootstock.  These trees (most of them) have lived through winter and gypsy moth invasions, droughts, and continual vole and varmint pressure throughout the chillier months. They had a pretty decent growing season this year and have sized up nicely (for the most part).

In all we’re growing about 20 different varieties with help from our friends at Dowse Orchards here in Sherborn, MA just down the street where the trees are located. We planted a mix of cider oriented apple trees, including tannic, bittersweet varietals plus American acid bombs like Wickson and Ashmead’s Kernel. This year we have our first official harvest and are proud to report some of the progress. We collected a solid amount of Reine de Pomme, Major, Grimes Golden, Michelin, Calville Blanc, Chisel Jersey, Dabinett, Black Oxford, Golden Russet, Esopus Spitzenburg, Redfield, and Wickson, which are still ripening up. Check out below for more information on each of the different styles. This is just the beginning compilation of the apples we grow and use in our ciders. We will continue to update with more pictures and descriptions of all varieties. 


Grimes Golden

Grimes Golden. Small to medium with greenish-yellow skin, Grimes Golden originated in Virginia in the 1800’s and is one of the parents of the Golden Delicious. It has a sweet flavor with a clean dry finish, similar to Golden Delicious and is one of the more multi-purpose apples we have planted, used for cooking and for making hard cider. Grimes Golden is also self-fertile and an excellent pollinator for other varieties. 


Michelin

Michelin. Small to medium-sized with yellow-green skin and a pink flush, Michelin is a popular traditional French hard cider apple that first fruited in 1872. It was named after M. Michelin of Paris, one of the original government appointed promoters of the study of cider fruits. It’s a “bittersweet” variety, high in tannins and low acidity, often used for blending in cider and produces a medium bittersweet juice.


Calville Blanc

Calville Blanc. Irregular shaped with yellow to pale green skin and light red spots, Calville Blanc is a traditional French dessert apple, that is also excellent for cider making. It’s classified as a “sharp” with lower tannins and higher acidity, known for it’s sweet, juicy flesh and rich sharp flavor. It’s also a very old apple. Originating in France as a chance seedling in the 17th century. We also use this apple in Legendary Dry.


Chisel Jersey

Chisel Jersey. Small and round with a striped red and brownish-pink flush, Chisel Jersey is a “bittersweet” apple that is high in tannins and sugars. It produces a strong, rich, full-bodied, colorful cider that’s best blended with other apples.


Dabinett

Dabinett. Medium sized and flattish with red skin, Dabinett is a high quality “bittersweet” English cider apple variety that makes a sweet, full-bodied cider. We’ve found it’s also one of the most reliable bittersweet apples to grow. This is another apple we use in Legendary Dry. 


Reine de Pomme

Reine de Pomme. Translated as “Queen of Apples”, Reine de Pomme is an archaic French Apple thought to have originated in Normandy, France. It’s a “bittersweet” apple that is rich in flavor and high tannins.


Major

Major. Medium sized with a pinkish red flush, Major is a ‘bittersweet’ apple high in tannins and relatively low in acidity. Dating back to the 19th century, it is a long established variety that was historically found in old farm orchards across the United Kingdom. It is also among the cultivars classified as ‘vintage’ quality meaning it’s capable of being used to make single-varietal cider.


Esopus Spitzenburg 

Esopus Spitzenburg. Fairly large and oblong with red skin and crisp flesh, Esopus Spitzenburg is an American heirloom variety that was discovered early in the 18th century near Esopus, New York. It was widely planted in the United States in the 19th century and used for both dessert and culinary purposes. It has a rich sharpness often characteristic of dessert apples, which makes it a good apple for baking pies as well as making cider.


Black Oxford

Black Oxford. Deep crimson in color, Black Oxford is a traditional apple from Maine that was discovered around 1790. It’s an all-purpose variety, that can be eaten fresh as well as used for making pies and cider. It has a well balanced flavor and firm flesh.


Golden Russet

Golden Russet. Small yellow gold with an occasional orange flush and lot of russeting, Golden Russet is an old apple variety that was discovered in New York State in the 1800s.  It was discovered from a chance seedling of an English russet apple cultivar. It’s a versatile apple that is used for cooking and apple cider production. It’s juicy and crisp which also makes it good enough to eat fresh.  A favorite American variety for all purposes.


Wickson 

Wickson Crab. Small yellow-red, Wickson is a popular crab apple variety which is commonly used in cider blends. It was developed by Albert Etter in California, an apple enthusiast best-known for his work on pink-fleshed and red-fleshed apples. It is classified as “sharp” and is sweet, but is also highly acidic.  It’s a wonderful little apple full of tart and sweet and makes excellent hard cider. We’ve had Wickson apples come in as low as 2.8 pH for those cider makers out there yet still packed with sugar.

3 Fall Tailgate Recipes and a Cider Cocktail


At Stormalong we love cider, but we also love food, so we thought why not start an ongoing blog series that combines the two. Each month we will be sharing different recipes that incorporate cider in one way or another. With fall around the corner and football season kicking off, we decided to start with a few tailgate classics because when we think of football season we think of tailgating. Whether hosting a group of friends at home or heading to the game, we put together a few easy recipes to add to your spread and that pair well with cider.


Whiskey and Cider Cocktail

– 2 ounces Mass Appeal
– 1-1.5 ounces whiskey (we used Maker’s Mark)
– 2 ounces ginger ale or ginger beer

Combine all ingredients in a glass with ice, stir and garnish with an apple slice (if you’d like). Enjoy!


Cider Brine Chicken Wings

– 4 cans Mass Appeal
– 1 cup kosher salt
– ½ cup sugar
– 3-4 bay leaves
– 1/4 cup peppercorn

In a large container, combine the Mass Appeal, salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. (TIP: Pour the salt in slowly because it can cause the cider to spill over the top.) Add bay leaves and peppercorns.  Transfer to a resealable bag, add the meat and seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Set aside in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Remove the meat from the brine and grill on medium heat until cooked all the way through.


Buffalo Chicken Dip

– 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
– 1 package cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 cup buffalo sauce (we used Tessemae’s Natural Buffalo Sauce – It’s gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free, sugar free, vegan and Whole30 Certified)
– 1/2 cup ranch dressing (we used Primal Kitchen ranch dressing – It’s gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free, sugar free, and Whole30 Certified)
– 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
– 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Spoon into an oven safe serving dish. Cook for at least 20 minutes, until piping hot. Serve with chips or veggies.


Orzo Pasta Salad

– 1 box of Orzo
– 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
– 1 clove garlic, diced
– 2 ears of corn
– 4 scallions, cut thinly
– 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and sliced
– 1/2 red onion, very finely chopped
– 1 orange pepper, cut into small pieces
– 10 basil leaves, julienned
– 1 large lemon
– 3 tbsp olive oil
– salt and pepper
– feta cheese

Cook orzo in salted water until soft, drain. Blister the tomatoes in 1 tbsp of olive oil, add garlic at the end. Cook corn in the microwave for 3 minutes before shucking, then take corn off the cob. Prep the rest of the veggies and add to bowl. Juice the lemon, add 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper and pour over the pasta. Mix everything together and adjust seasonings as needed. Add feta and basil just before serving.