Shelburne Orchards

Monday, October 25, 2010

Leaves the color of copper the color of the still

The apple trees have shed their burden.. the leaves are copper-gold.. the cider mill is working over time to fill all the tanks and barrels with cider to ferment for the still.. It’s quiet again in the orchard.. the 8 weeks of harvest are wonderful and.. It’s nice when they are past and we all get to have these wonderful peaceful days of putting the orchard to bed. I want to thank all the people who have made this year the best ever!! I have such an amazing crew of people that work here for me.. Many have left for distant lands and a few are here with me getting ready to hunker down for the winter.. We are getting ready to start the applewood fire that heats the still for making brandy.. Let the snow come!! We can sit by the still fire and re-minis about the year and how it all went.. Play a little music and fill barrels with 120 proof liquid gold.. Life is good.. like me, the golden spirits are aging nicely.. I just turned 60.. I’ve been doing this my whole life.. and it just keeps getting better…


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

May the Jack flow freely

We are just now starting to bottle our Ginger Jack. This is a non alcoholic beverage that Is made by steeping large quantities of fresh ground ginger, small amounts of echinacea root in fresh squeezed cider. The apples need to become sweet enough for this combination to work.. and we are there finally. This also marks the beginning of the second half of the harvest period. October is the month of later ripening apples like empire, red and golden Delicious, Mutzu, mcoun.. and an assortment of others we won’t mention because we are saving them for the apple brandy mix.

Yes.. the “Mix” @$@^& We love it.. We are also beginning the long process of filling the fermenting tanks for making brandy. hundreds of gallons of apple cider are pumped into stainless steel tanks where it is mixed with yeast and fermented into hard cider to be distilled in our 400 liter copper pot still into 80 proof brandy. The brandy then goes into oak barrels and is aged for a minimum of 2 years before we bottle it.. Oh I love October!!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Apple Pie…straight to the heart

Sunday September 26th is “Pie Fest.” This day is all about the Pie baking contest. 30 pies are judged for their filling, crust and overall appearance.. It’s such a wonderful event, There is no entry fee, and the winner takes home not only $200 cash.. but huge fame and bragging rights!!! Oh Yes!! ”Best Pie” winner has every reason to lord over everyone their supreme place in the community!! people should bow as they pass.. If you are the winner of this contest, you can know that without a doubt you have the power to win the heart of whomever you choose.. you will know what it is to be loved in a way few people have known.. you will walk in a realm few people have walked.. I will say no more!!

There is only a few things in this life you will take with you when you go.. this could be one of them…


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Big Day coming!!

Don’t forget…Sunday September 12th, Vermont Small Farms Food Festival..

This day is a wonderful event, showcasing many of our small farms in Vermont. This is a time when the community here in the Burlington area, gets to meet the farmers. These are the people behind the package on the store shelves. And, for the Farmers get to meet the community they are growing and selling there produce to.. We raffle off a table every year as the symbol of the event. The table represents the place where the farmers and the community meet to “Break Bread”. Each farm brings a prepared dish from whatever it is they grow, to sell. The food is always wonderful and there is a stage with local musicians playing throughout the day.. expect 2000 to 3000 people to show up. ….It’s a BIG DAY!!!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Apples to Apples

Harvest is coming on early!.. The Paula Red apples are ready to pick now.. We are having a good year so far. The Peaches varieties are ripening one after the other .. So we will have perfect peaches right through into September. We will not however be making cider until the McIntosh ripen. I’m sure they will be for Food fest. On the 12th of September.. Along with Cider making comes.. The cider donuts,, everyone is asking me “When are the donuts coming”… “If you climb the tallest tree and look out across the forbidden forest as far as you can see,,, You just might see them… rolling, slowly.. hot and crispy.. in our direction.. and if the breeze is in the right direct.. you can surely smell them…


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Best Peaches Ever!!!

I think this year we are going to have the best peach crop ever!! We hand thinned every tree. The set this year was so good.. the peaches were clustered like grapes. 15 to 20 per limb. We thinned them back to 2 or 3 per limb. A peach tree will produce a set amount of pounds of peaches in any given season.. so If there are too many, they will be tiny. by thinning the peaches off, we are making room for the remaining peaches to grow bigger. Plus with the hail damage we got this early season, we were able to thin out the hail damaged fruit.

I’m planning on opening them for ”Pick Your own” some time in mid August… I’ll send out an notice on our email news letter on the dates we’ll be open.. If you have ever tasted a tree ripened peach.. you know how good they are.. nothing like what you get in the store.. If someone is eating a peach right off the tree… It’s easy to tell from 1/4 mile away, from their stance…

They are bent over at the waist, leaning way forward…


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

“And the thunder rolls”

9 pm. the night of Wednesday June 2nd, Cindy and I had just come home from dinner with a friend. Driving home we could see dark clouds and lightning over Burlington. Usually storms over Burlington mean the storm has passed to the north of us, I was disappointed because we could use the rain. Minutes after we arrived home, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. We sat out on the porch, lightning became nonstop, there was a roar as from rain hit the metal roofing on the barn. Then It all happened within 30 seconds, the trees bent nearly 45 degrees as the leading edge of the storm raked across the orchard driving half inch size hail close to 60 mile per hour into our little baby apples. 30 seconds!! 50% to 60% of the apples dented, torn open, and some even shattered.. 30 seconds and then the storm was passed, It was quiet, I love the smell that always remains after a thunderstorm. We got hit. It happens… there is nothing that can be done about it. I can’t help taking it personally. We’ll make the best of it…


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Apple Blossoms And Whiskey Barrels

The orchard went into full bloom on May 6th.. This is still early.. maybe a week to 10 days ahead of average. The bloom was beautiful, everything,.. all varieties came out simultaneously. The peaches made it through this winter, and bloomed with their little pink flowers.. plums, pears, and sour cherries.. all full of flowers. Now we just have to make it through the rest of the spring with out any hard freezes. I’m very hopeful. Now on the other subject, I just spent 3 days in Louisville Kentucky at a whiskey distillers convention. I learned many new things and met many other distillers from all over this country.. I can promise everyone that there is no doubt in my mind… I will have some very good apple brandy to sell by the end of 2012.. There is 100 gallons at 120 proof barrel strength in oak barrels now and aging very very nicely.. When the time comes to bottle, I will add water to bring it down to 80 proof, maybe add a little caramelized honey just to take the edge off, and bottle maybe 30 gallons of it. the rest will stay in the barrels for the 10 to 12 year bottling.. I only hope I’m still around for the 20 year …