Exploring APPLES and Collecting Cider: Virginia

Apple Tasting at Albemarle CiderWorks

Exploring Apples.

Our recent Cider (and Apple) Road Trip to Virginia sparked the desire to more actively explore apple varieties.

Becoming familiar with the unique qualities of individual apple varieties – through study and sampling – enhances the experience of drinking craft cider, allowing you to understand and taste how the fruit itself contributes to shaping a craft ciders’ profile.

Apple-centric highlights of our Virginia cider tour included:

A guided apple tasting at Vintage Virginia Apples/Albemarle CiderWorks, followed by orchard exploring to view the raw materials of cider still on the tree. Apples sampled and spied included: Dolgo, Hewes Crab, Pitmaston Pineapple, Razor Russet and Arkansas Black.

Charlotte and Chuck Shelton of Albemarle CiderWorks’ Virginia Cider Making demonstration tasting at The Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. Fresh pressed ‘sweet’ cider from Vintage Virginia Apples extracted via an antique manual cider press, and enjoyed in the midst of Thomas Jefferson’s restored experimental vegetable garden.

Three lively and informative workshops: Heirloom Apples & Artisanal Cheese TastingApple Varieties for Organic Orchards, and Apple Varieties for Cider & Pie Making with ‘Professor Apple’, the esteemed orchard consultant, apple educator and advocate – Tom Burford.

And of course, securing copies of Tom Burford’s new book, Apples of North America: 192 Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers, and Cooks.

Follow the links below for additional information about the annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, and this years workshops. Plan a visit in 2014.

Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello

Virginia Cider Making
Chuck & Charlotte Shelton

Heirloom Apple & Artisanal Cheese Tasting
Tom Burford & Gail Hobbs-Page

Apple Varieties for Organic Orchards 
Tom Burford

Apple Varieties for Cider- & Pie-Making 
Tom Burford


The juice of the apple is naturally affected by the condition of the fruit itself. Sound words from the Encyclopedia Britannica 1911


Fruit-growers who look to cider-making “as a means of utilizing windfalls and small and inferior apples of cooking and dessert varieties not worth sending to market” should be warned that it is as important to the cider industry that good cider only should be on sale as it is to the fruit-growing industry that good fruit only should be sent to market. The juice of the apple is naturally affected by the condition of the fruit itself, and if this be unripe, unsound or worm-eaten the cider made from it will be inferior to that made from full-grown, ripe and sound fruit. If such fruit be not good enough to send to market, neither will the cider made from it be good enough to place before the public. Nevertheless, it may furnish a sufficiently palatable drink for home consumption, and may therefore be so utilized. But when, as happens from time to time in fruit-growing districts, there is a glut, and even the best table fruit is not saleable at a profit, then, indeed, cider-making is a means of storing in a liquid form what would otherwise be left to rot on the ground; whilst if a proportion of vintage fruit were mixed therewith, a drink would be produced which would not discredit the cider trade, and would bring a fair return to the maker. (C. W. R. C.)

source: http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Cider

Clare Barboza: Documentary Food Photographer









Images: Tahuya River Apiaries, Harmony Orchards, Pipitone Farms, Poverty Lane Orchards, cider.

All images courtesy of the photographer. All images copyright © Clare Barboza

On The Shelf: What We’re Reading: On Cider and Taste of Place


Taste, Memory Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter, by David Buchanan, Chelsea Green Publishing 2012

American Terroir Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields, by Rowan JacobsenBloomsbury USA 2010

Cider Making Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider, Annie Proulx & Lou Nichols, Storey Publishing LLC  2003

Cider Hard and Sweet by Ben Watson, The Countryman Press 2nd Edition 2009

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix KatzChelsea Green Publishing 2012