New York Orchard and Cidery Car Trip

I got on the train back upstate and felt a wave of relief.  New York City is exciting but hard work.  I don’t know how you all do it down there in the City, day in and day out?  I picked up my car from my cousin’s house and took a meandering, semi-accidental tour of some of the orchards in the Hudson Valley / Catskills area.   Photos above are from my first stop at Dressel Orchard and Kettleborough Cider House, near New Paltz.

From there I proceeded towards the Gunks, passing another roadside orchard and some stunning views of pumpkin fields beneath the Gunks:

I then drove up to Stone Ridge Orchard and met up with a friend.  Pete, the guy manning the shop was really friendly and said he had been coming here for years before he started working there.  This orchard is operated by Elizabeth Ryan, maker of Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider.  Check out also the Friends of Stone Ridge Orchard page. This orchard was really interesting, with lots of different varieties of fruit and styles of pruning in evidence.

Finally, I drove out to visit some cousins in the Catskills, where I went to photograph the old North Branch Cidery in western Sullivan County.  I spent several summers working at WJFF Catskill Community Radio and hoeing weeds at Gorzynski’s Organic Farm, and I passed by this place many times.  My cousins remember when it was still operating, but is has been years now since it closed.  You can see a few apple trees on the property beyond the rusting truck and the buildings.  Andy Brennan posted this in a comment to another post on the blog:

Hey Maria, I don’t know much about the North Branch cidery either except everyone in the county tells me they used to bring their apples there to press. It was an old German guy who everyone loved and he had hard cider too, but I don’t think he legally sold it. I believe the ecoli scare and pasteurization laws forced the shut down about 12 years ago. Someone was working on the building not long ago but it still looks abandoned. -Andy

And after that, I headed home to Indiana.  I did actually follow the address to Eve’s Cidery in Van Etten, NY as I drove along the southern tier past the Finger Lakes region.  I drove by a large barn several times, but there was no sign, it looked like they weren’t set up for visitors, and I still had 400 miles to drive that day.  So I went on my way without stopping.  Someone waved at me though, after I drove by for the 4th time.  Probably they were wondering if the weirdo in the yellow VW beetle was lost, which is kind of true.  I mean, who drives to obscure orchards in search of cider?  I guess that’s me!

NY Cider Week: Food Systems Network NYC, New York Apples and the Growing Hard Cider Industry

This Food Systems Network NYC event was co-Hosted by Glynwood, Slow Food NYC, and 61 Local. The event brought together Sara Grady from Glynwood and three orchardists and cider makers from the Hudson Valley region.

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After a video presentation introducing the recent partnership and exchange between Hudson Valley cider producers and cider producers in Normandy, France through Glynwood’s Apple Project, Sara Grady moderated the panel, asking the panelists questions to illuminate some of the issues around Hudson Valley Orchards and cider production.  This summary is paraphrased from notes.  Corrections always welcome:

Q: How does hard cider production allow us to increase the viability of apple production in NY

E Ryan: Cider is the joy, the soul, and the essence of the apple.  Financially, cider production allows us to use fruit not pretty enough for market, to diversify and add value.  It is also a low/no-spray agricultural option with low input systems and the possibility of integrating animals.

D Wilson: We have the oldest pick your own orchard in the state operating for 108 years, a long history of relationship with the public.  80% of our annual income comes in a six week period with pick-your-own, and if the weather doesn’t cooperate – if it rains on the weekend and people don’t come out, we can be hurt.  Hard cider gives us something to broaden our base – more flexible and sustainable.

Q: What has been the impact of cider week for you?

E Ryan: We started making artisan cider in 1996.  I went to England and spent time with cider makers there.  At the marketing level – people didn’t know what to do with it.  The difference between then and now is amazing.  Restaurants who didn’t know what to do with it 10 years ago are seeking us out.  I just borrowed 1 million dollars to buy the farm I have been renting, so that tells you I have some confidence in the market.  During our visit to France, we saw the future there – an air of prosperity we want to build in the Hudson Valley.

D Wilson: Cider allows us to attract a different market than the family pick-your-own.  Cider week has allowed us to develop a relationship with a distributor.  Cider is becoming a much more substantial part of our overall business.  Production has tripled in the past few years.  It is a value-added thing for fruit you already have.  Now as the industry matures, we are planting specifically for cider purposes.

T Dressel: My family is a 4th generation apple growing family.  My grandfather is still working.  It’s been a change for him to take out his trees to plant trees for cider, apples he can’t put on a road side stand.  I came back from school hoping to open a winery and planted 4 acres of grape vines.  While they were growing I made some terrible ciders.  During that time things really started moving with the cider industry.  In 2009 the Cornell extension called me up and said they had a collection of cider trees that were going to be grubbed up and if I wanted them I had to come up right away to pick them up.  So I got some friends together with a truck, dug them up, and put them in the ground.  We have 60 trees, 10 European cider varieties.  That’s how I started growing cider apples.  It’s hard to get nursery trees for cider, few people carry them and you have to wait 5-8 years for them to be ready.  It is easier to top graft onto existing trees.  I have another half acre of American heirloom apple varieties as well.

Q: Could you talk a little more about cider varieties?

E Ryan: In Europe, cider makers grow hundreds of varieties for cider.  Makers in the town we visited in Normandy had catalogued 600 varieties.  We have a huge tradition ourselves of heirloom varieties grown here.  Some of the older orchards had Norther Spy, Golden Russet, etc, varieties people don’t know in Europe.  I am drawing mostly on these American varieties.

D Wilson: I am liking some of the ciders we are making from old Russet varieties – the Golden Russet and the Ashmeads Kernal, as well as English Bittersweets like Dabinette and Chisel Jersey, along with some crab apples.  Eating varieties have more sweetness and adicity to them.  Cider varieties add to the whole palette – different qualities of acid, bitterness, and astringency.  A really good cider rarely comes from a single apple variety.  To develop a balanced cider requires blending.

Q: Tell us about your experiences in La Perche, Normandy.  What did you bring back?

E Ryan: Cider is completely embedded in Norman culture, with their cider washed cheese and calvados.  They have achieved terroir.  We learned a lot of techniques, which you end up trying to re-interpret here with the kinds of varieties we have access to here.  I was most impressed with the cider culture and what the Hudson Valley could be.

T Dressel: For me it was the cultural experience.  As a commercial apple grower compliant with NY State laws and regulations, so much of what I saw there will never happen here: such as harvesting apples off the ground.  It set a goal for me that I wanted to be able to achieve – I wasn’t making cider yet at that time.  I was impressed with how different their craft cider is than ours, and that the tastes – more earthy and funky – they enjoy over there might not be transferable to an audience in the states.  One French cider maker asked me – “what is this word, funk? People keep telling me my ciders are funky?” I think education is first, so many people don’t understand what cider is.  My biggest emphasis is telling everyone everything I can to expand people’s horizons.

D Wilson: I was impressed by the value the French put on food – how food reflects an area.  Slow food, terroir, sense of place.  I came back with a sense of how the food they produce is a national treasure.  And the apples grown in that area are just for cider, not for eating.  Their techniques are extremely simple and yet sophisticated at the same time.  We could also become a culture that consumes cider as a common drink.

Q: Tell us how cider growing is a more low-input operation for ecological apple growing?  Most people here understand that organic production for apples is very difficult in the Northeast.

T Dressel: The system of grazing animals and harvesting apples off the ground, together with insects and rotten fruit might add to the funk of French cider!   We are not spraying nearly as much as we used to.  We use an integrated pest management system and are not organic.  Copper (used in organic apple production) is an organic substance but is not sustainable.  Up till now we had been using culled fruit from our eating apples.  But now, with blocks set aside for cider apples, we can spray less since it isn’t going to the fresh market and the appearance of the apple doesn’t matter as much.

D Wilson: An Apple orchard is a monoculture, perennial environment, making organic methods that work for other vegetable crops difficult.  Problems from pests range from cosmetic issues to tree death, and these things can effect trees in combination.  The focus of pest control is greatest between the blossom period till fruit is the size of a marble.  Growing fruit without the need to address cosmetic problems allows us to reduce spray.

T Dressel: We are now dealing with questions about how cider trees will be managed differently than eating apple orchards.  What tree density? What shape will we prune the trees?  Our value will shift to volume of apples rather than perfect big apples.  Fresh market apple trees are pruned very heavily.  When we started to grow cider varieties, father and gradfather’s pruning knowledge was not helpful.  I have talked to friends in Western New York who grow apples for the processing market about tree management.  I have had to relearn how to prune trees for cider

Q: Blending?  How much are decisions made based on tasting and how much on measuring tannin and acidity?

A: (conversation moved to fast for me to note who was saying what – this is a summary of answers from all participants)

  • We experimented by making single variety batches of every apple we grew – fermentation makes a difference in taste
  • In Europe, I sometimes saw people making very intuitive traditional decisions – one shovelfull of bittersharps, two shovels full of bittersweets
  • In England, I saw people doing a full crush of what was being harvested that week – mix of bittersweets and bittersharps.  Further blending of the juice happened later.
  • You need enough acid in a fermentation to make it keep

Q: Is there a long term interest in developing uniquely American varietals for cider, rather than depending on European ones?

D Wilson:  There are some great traditional American ciders.  My fantasy is that there might be a wild tree out there that has some great qualities we don’t know yet. (from audience – That’s what Andy Brennan is doing with Aaron Burr Cider).  I mentioned to a friend of mine at the big breeding program in Geneva that we might need some new cider varieties, and she said there were some discards from the eating apple breeding program that could be good cider varieties. We want to find out what our customers will enjoy.  The intense high acid of Spanish ciders or the funk of French ciders might now go down well here.  We need to find out what the American taste is.

Cider Foragers

Foraging Follow-up to the post about Aaron Burr Ciders:  As I was driving up NY 97 along the Delaware River, I noticed quite a lot of roadside apple trees laden with fruit just north of Hankins and south of Hancock.  I’m betting, due to their road-side locations, that they are the progeny of apple cores thrown out the car window.  Delaware valley scrumpers, get to it!

NY Cider Week: Meet the Cider Maker – Aaron Burr Cider’s Andy Brennan @ Proletariat

IMG_2060Crowded into a long narrow bar in the East Village called the Proletariat, where a steady stream of changing craft beers on tap lures beer geeks, a group of about 20-30 folks waited in the dim glow for the arrival of the hard-to-find and coveted ciders of Aaron Burr Cider.  Me, being the wide eyed Midwesterner that I am, had seen the event advertised in the NY Cider Week schedule and thought, oh, I will casually stop by at this event before dinner with my friend Challey.  Luckily, Challey knows the way NY works more the I, and she investigated further, messaged some people, found out the event was ticketed, tracked down the bar, and bought us the last two tickets.  I would have been OUT OF LUCK were it not for her keen City food scene skills.  Among the crowd were clearly some home cider makers, some people with a lot of knowledge about wine and beer but not about cider, and some totally new but enthusiastic folks who were devotees of the bar and trusted the bar staff when they said – come to this event.  I also was pleased to meet another cider blogger: United States of Cider.

IMG_2055So, I spend most of my time with academics, farmers, and craft producers, not urban foodies, and I have to say, urban foodies massively intimidate me, even though I probably can match them point for point on food, wine, and especially, cider knowledge .  It’s just the way they frame their questions (more like short soliloquies) with tones of assurance, peppered with casual references to nuggets of information indicating their level of taste, which makes me want to back wide-eyed into a corner with my notebook.  Luckily, my foodie friend Challey, who works as a director at the Greenmarket, is a fabulous champion of provincials like me and was instrumental in helping me navigate my sojourn into the foodie beast of NY Cider Week in the city.  Nonetheless, I sat in awe of the New Yorkers at this bar who were practically tripping over each other’s tongues to get in questions with Andy Brennan, who was winningly both modest, soft-spoken, eloquent, and a great story-teller of cider.

IMG_2077I’ve heard and read a lot about Aaron Burr Cider, and I think that the mystique of the foraged fruit touches a nerve for the American foodie that sends a certain exciting shiver up the culinary spine.  In fact, at another cider event, when I asked another panel of cider makers if there was any long term interest in developing uniquely American, regional cider apple varietals instead of turning to French, English, and Spanish origin fruit, one man said his fantasy was that there was some wild tree out there waiting to be discovered that had some amazing, yet-unknown flavors that would make a unique, wild, native American cider.  And a member of the audience said: “Well, that is just what Andy Brennan is doing with his foraging.”

There is something about the idea of an American wild apple, uncultivated apple that speaks to the American food imagination.  In this fantasy are the beginnings a new American cider mythology – one that taps into tales of Johnny Appleseed, our peripatetic tree-planting legend, and his semi-cultivation of wild landscapes.

The thing is, many of the landscapes settlers cultivated in the past, wresting farmland out of the forest, have become overgrown, taken back into the wild, as marginal land has become uneconomical to farm and farm economies have changed.  The Catskill / Hudson Valley area where Andy Brennan forages his fruit is one such landscape, where cultivated trees leftover from re-wilded farms dot the landscape and tell a story of un-cultivation that is little understood but ripe with mystery, full of the fruiting ghosts of farms past.

England has a similar story of orchards left-over from dead farm economies, but there is no wilderness in England to grow back over the land and around the apple trees.  Instead, these old trees become singular markers in grazed fields, or untended corners of a farmhouse property sold to urban professionals who like the view but know nothing about the apples.  There are foragers in England too, but they are looking for old, heritage fruits, instead of wild fruits, though the interest in roadside apple trees, grown from the pips of eating apples discarded out the car window, is also growing.

“Wild” apples are never entirely new though.  Even trees that sprout by the side of the road from a discarded apple have stories to tell about their origins in other cultivated or culinary pasts.  Brennan’s foraged ciders appeal to the American story of forging into the wilderness to carve out a culture of our own.  In a place where American cider history and culture has mostly been lost and forgotten, the idea of starting anew with unique, “wild” apples is appealing to many people in the sense that they seem to appear out of nature, independent of history and the hand of man.  It also suggests that America has a complex terroir to draw upon that does not simply mimic the European models. But to me, wild apples harbour their own mysterious agricultural pasts and speak to the re-discovery of our landscapes and our foods.

My friend Challey was even more excited than I was to go to this event, as she had been hearing about Aaron Burr Cider for awhile but had never had a chance to taste it until just a few weeks ago at a friend’s bridal shower.  We were treated to generous tastes of six different Aaron Burr ciders.  Here’s the rundown of what we tasted, with some of the commentary, questions, and answers that crossed the crowd, paraphrased and summarized:

Golden Russet. This cider is made from mostly golden russet apples, with a few Northern Spy thrown in.  Brennan commented that the Golden Russet lacks the acidity to be a total single variety cider on its own.  He described it as perfumey, with a high sugar content, explaining that the tannin content was higher from the russetting on the apple, and that the higher tannin and higher alcohol allowed the cider the possibility of more aging, which he liked. 

Q: What apples the first settlers were growing in America?

A: Besides the crab apples native to America, Andy explained, all apples we know for eating came over starting with the Mayflower, and all apples grown in the Northeast today are descendants of these European apples.

Q: Tannins?  Is it like red wine?  What are the varietals and how do you choose them?

A: “Every apple is a good apple to me.”  But Brennan went on to comment that he doesn’t put every cider he makes into his final blends.  He said he ferments over the winter, with the final change in flavors coming in the spring when a malo-lactic fermentation may occur.

Q: There are only a few varieties that can be single variety ciders?

A: Yes, it’s a lot like wine.  Only Americans are obsessed with single varieties.  Apples even more than grapes need to be balanced.  There are four things you are trying to balance: Acidity, Tanin, Sugar, Aroma.  It really is an art trying to bring those characters together – like bringing a still life together and letting all those objects live together.

If you grow an apple tree in a field, it has more sun, more nutrients.  I believe if you grow an apple tree in the wild, and its is competing with blackberry bushes an oak trees, that apple picks up those properties.  And the soil temperature is cooler in a wild environment than in a cultivated environment, which much influence the flavor.

Q: Do you blend different vintages?

A: Yes.  I am open to blending different years.  It’s like having an extra colour for next year’s cider.

Traminette.  Made from Golden Russet and four other apples, including MacIntosh for a floral note, this cider came about because Andy wanted something like a champagne – something like a picnic drink.  You could pair it with food, but it is great as a for walking around, a party drink.  It is very perfumey, a fruity taste almost like grapefruit and wonderfully bubbly, similar to the taste of Traminette wine, a white grape varietal related to Gewurztraminer.  Murmurs of delight wafted up from the crowd as they started to sip this beverage, and everyone seemed to be smiling and thinking of summer.  Brennan made a nod to the English invention of champagne method (which I think should be renamed the “Glasshouse method” in reference to the spot on May Hill in Gloucestershire where Huguenot glassmakers helped develop pressure-resistant bottle glass) and the efforts of Lord Scudamore as he outlined the details of the method to illustrate the craft method of carbonation as opposed to modern forced carbonation.

Q: I made cider at home and it turned out more like Chardonnay?  How do I get that apple essence that some of the more commercial ciders have?

A: Chardonnay has the same buttery characteristic that comes from the late spring fermentation – the malo-lactic fermentation.  If you bottle before that malo-lactic fermentation takes place, you can trap some of the apple fruit quality.  You can also back-sweeten by saving some of the juice frozen in reserve.

Homestead Apple. Made from foraged fruit. 

Q: What are you doing with the must?

A: We have one guy who distills but I use it mostly as a nursery for future trees.  I’ve got 400 trees planted.  I was buying cider trees from Europe but I decided we had all the varieties we needed and more right here.  Right now my nursery is trees I find in the wild that I want to keep, trees I find on property that isn’t mine that I want to save.  More than cider I want the trees.  I take the graft wood in the winter and put it on to our trees.  I keep finding trees I want to save.  It’s like our tree orphanage.

Elderberry.  This spicy aromatic drink had extra depth and rich flavour.  Brennan said this was what he made when he wanted a winter drink, something to go with chocolate, somethingthat felt woody and earthy and foresty.  It also includes a touch of sumac to enhace the lemony and acidic flavors.  He said that as the water level in the barrel shrinks over time, they add huckleberries to keep things spinning over in the fermentation.

Q: What strains of yeast do you use – are you afraid of using the wild yeasts?

A: I’ve messed up a lot of cider, but I am very much just, ‘let it go.’

Homestead Pear.  I think Brennan used the word “vulgar” to describe the scent of this perry, and he was right.  It was a ripe old aroma.  But the taste was wonderfully delicate and just like pear.  He described the fruit as a wild, foraged pear, with very delicate, sweet fruit inside a tannic, leathery shell – a smell in like a lion and a taste out like a lamb.

Ginger Apple.  Fermented on carrots, Brennan said he made this as a table wine, something to go with Thai food and sushi.  It really was the fresh spicy fruity taste you would expect from something you got at a juice bar, but much lighter.

Rare Variety Cider Tasting with John Teiser

Kate, John Teiser, Maria
Kate, John Teiser, Maria

Possibly one of the most interesting, lovely, and helpful people I have met during my cider travels has been the incomparable John Teiser, producer of Springherne Cider.  John introduced me to Broome Farm and has helped in many ways to set me on the path of cider and perry.  John is one of the true scholars of cider and perry, a man who goes searching through archival records of Bulmers farm plantings while also driving and walking through the countryside in search of old orchards and rare trees.

John is also, however, an amazing producer, not only for the quality of his ciders and perrys, but also because of his meticulous experimentation with rare fruit varieties.  John invited me and Kate Garthwaite, another former Broome Farm apprentice who now produces her own Left Field Cider in British Columbia, Canada, accompanied by Mike and Phil from Broome Farm, to come over to his cider house on the side of hill overlooking the Wye Valley to taste some rare variety ciders.

Most modern cider orchards produce vast quantities of a few varieties (Dabinette, Michelin) that have proven to be good annual producers (avoiding bi-annual variation of crops common to many apples), and which have disease resistance and good growth habits, as well as good cider qualities.  However, there are many rarer varieties, which for various reasons didn’t make it into our current system of production.  Often, these are found in old orchards, and even if no one can remember them anymore, they can be identified through a combination of comparison with documented variety characteristics and – if they exist – planting records from Bulmers contracts for orchards planted in their schemes.  It’s a bit of cider detective work.

John Teiser, however, has been using apples from a very interesting old orchard – one which was an early trial bush orchard in the 1930s for Bulmers.  Here, bush tree cultivation was trialled on many varieties which never made it out into the agricultural system and some of which only survive now, in England, in this particular orchard.  The ciders we sampled with John were made from some of these trees.

John Teiser in his Orchard
John Teiser in his Orchard

The ciders were, for the most part, all bittersweets, and many were French varieties.  Some of the highlights included the Collington Big Bitters, which Mike recalled as also being called the Mincemeat apple.   The Damelot had a very light and floral fragrant taste.   My personal favorite was the St. Laurent, which John tells us looks almost as dark as Guinness when it is pressed.  Not only did this cider have the tannic qualities of a bittersweet, it also had a rich body, with a hint of nuttiness and butteriness.  John also poured for us what he believes is the actual Hagloe Crab (a rare tree of disputed identity and provenance). Another fascinating taste experience was a Medaille D’Or, which was the most astringent tannic cider I have ever tasted.  I couldn’t imagine drinking more than a sip.  John handed it to us and said – this is one of the ones you wonder  – why did anyone ever plant this?  But John theorized that these very tannic French varieties might have been desirable to maintain tannin in the drink through the keeving process, which often precipitates much of the tannin along with the yeast, leaving a much sweeter drink.  It was certainly an educational tasting moment, if not the most enjoyable one.  (Stay tuned for a more accurate list of variety names – I forgot my notebook and was overcome by flavors and sunshine).

Many thanks to John Teiser for a really amazing afternoon of tasting, blessed by the sun, and overlooking his young plantation of rare cider trees.  May these rare varieties continue to be propagated, pressed, and poured into glasses for many years to come.  Thanks also to Mike for being our driver and Phil for….being Phil – always the best of company.

Back at the Broome

I have returned to Broome Farm for a visit about six months after my departure, and it’s almost like I never left.  So lovely to slip right back into drinking some amazing cider outside the cellar with the regulars at the end of the workday.  Folks report that, though the apple crop is not a bumper one as media reports have suggested, it is better than last year, and it is nice to see many of the apple and pear trees laden with fruit.

me in front of the Holmer Perry Tree at Broome Farm
me in front of the Holmer Perry Tree at Broome Farm

One tree in particular, the old Holmer, is looking particularly laden with its tiny fruits.  Standing under it the other day, I asked how old it was, as it is the oldest and largest fruit tree on the farm.  Our friend John Teiser, cider maker (Springherne Cider), tree enthusiast, and orchard researcher, said it would probably date to about 1828.  I was taken aback by such accuracy of date, and John explained that it was in the decade between 1820 and 1830 that Thomas Andrew Knight, a local Herefordshire gentleman farmer who pioneered fruit breeding in the 19th century, popularized the variety of perry pear he had discovered in the vicinity of the village of Holmer, north of the city of Hereford.  According to John, many large old Holmers date back to this decade, as Knight convinced many people all over the county to plant them during that time.  Mike said he remembers several other large specimens of perry pears standing nearby when he was a boy, but they have died out long ago.  As we were admiring the majestic and craggy old tree, which has skeletal dead branches interspersed with the green boughs full of fruit, my friend Liz grimaced slightly and said it was the worst pear to pick up of all the pears in the orchard, due to its tiny size.  But one can’t help but respect such an old tree.

holmer pear
holmer pear

Meanwhile, I spent the afternoon over at Much Marcle at Westons Cider.  Somehow I had managed never to take their facility tour when I was here previously, so I decided now was the time.  The tour guide was very lovely, and she took us all round the busy facility, stopping frequently to let the Westons lorries pass by.  By far the most interesting part of the tour was the Vat room, where over 90 oak vats of huge proportions, some over 200 years old, stand holding vast quantities of cider during its aging process after fermentation.  Each of them have names, a tradition started by the founder of the company.  The vat room inspires feelings of awe and wonder, even more so than the equally massive holding tanks that loom outside over the distant Malvern Hills.

Oak Vats at Westons
Oak Vats at Westons

No, the vat room is dark, dank, and full of mysteriously huge and ancient vessels whose girth and age, not to mention their very names, seem to bestow upon them a sense of mythical and yet earthy personality.  Titans of cider – the kind of creatures that preceded gods.  You feel you have entered a temple inhabited by mischievious and montrous beings through which billions of litres of cider have flowed.

Well, after that, I needed a bit of a stroll, you know, to relax the mind.  So I drove down the lane to the Helens to visit the avenue of perry pears, trees even more ancient and craggy than the Holmer at Broome.  The avenue was planted to commemorate the coronation of Queen Anne in 1702, and some of the trees still hang on to life.  I’ve admired these trees in the past, and last fall at the Big Apple festival, which is held on the grounds of Hellens Manor, I got to taste the perry made from these pears, the Hellens Early and the Hellens Green, and it was lovely.  Somewhat sweet, with a honeysuckle nectar quality as I recall.  One vintage had a hint of woodiness as well.

More to come on further adventures in perry, cider, Broome Farm this trip.

Avenue of Perry trees at the Hellens, Much Marcle
Avenue of Perry trees at the Hellens, Much Marcle