Though it is still a while before we start our Farmer’s Markets, thought it would be a good time to update you on the current “happenings in the orchard.” First of all, check out our website, it had a major overhaul by someone who knows what they are doing (i.e. obviously not me!!). Let me know what you think. One thing you will notice is a new section on hard cider. Though we are not producing it ourselves, there has been a resurgence in hard cider making by both individuals with a passion for it and by commercial operations jumping on the latest trend...am sure all of you have seen the million Redd’s Apple Ale commercials on tv. We have interacted with and sold to various individuals making hard cider, small start up cidery’s, fairly large operations and everything in between. We like to think we play a small role in their success. One in particular we have partnered with is Haykin Family Cider in Aurora, CO. They just opened their tap room in February so pay them a visit when you have a chance...what makes them unique is they make a number of ciders using some of our unusual varieties such as Akane, Scarlet Surprise, Sansa rather than blends...small batch craft/individual varieties...pretty neat. We also had a plan to sell bottles of their cider at the U-pick orchard/country store in Ault, which requires a fair amount of review and approval by the ATF, CO liquor Board, etc...once we got thru the big hurdles with the ATF & Liquor Board, thought we had it pretty much done...wrong! Weld Co has a review process that dwarfs the others and basically made it too costly to pursue, just to put a bottle on a shelf…sounds ridiculous, but true. But you can enjoy their ciders at their operation/tap room in Aurora.
So far, I say with caution…mother nature has cooperated and not punished us (or anyone else) with a hard freeze during bloom time, so fruit production this year across the state should be pretty good, a stark contrast to last year which was tough for everyone. We anticipate opening our U-pick orchard/country store near Ault, CO this year which should be fun. There is a good chance we will do some limited openings (weekends) prior to our full blown season to sell cherries, peaches, jams, jellies, etc. to get a better feel for how to operate it...those will not be U-pick items, just sold from the store. Our normal season starts mid to late August and this year may have enough fruit to make it thru Thanksgiving, things look pretty good as of today. As many of you know, that can change quickly with a hail storm or other weather event.
That’s about it for now...will keep you updated on our progress and if we open the store before the markets.
PS: I wrote this on Monday evening before the catastrophic hail storms hit the state Tuesday afternoon and evening...miraculously, we were not impacted significantly, a few hail dings here and there, but nothing like what was seen across the state...got lucky this time!