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Crush 2011

We mixed all the pear varieties this year and tried two types of yeast, champagne and one with a little less kick.  You may recall 2010, the champagne yeast really didn't die and some bottles became over-excited.  We measured the sugar content from the juice 18 percent.  That means 9% alcohol.  The drunkards in the family are really excited by that prospect.

Of the 30 gallons we pressed, about 10 didn't accept the yeast.  Perhaps it was too sugary, or the temperature was too low. We aren't really sure.  Hey, that means what we did bottle is worth that much more, right?

Flavor?  About the same as last year.  In winter they still have some sugar left, but by summer they will be nice and dry.  Both yeast's created an explosive amount of CO2, though slightly less than last year.  Next year, we will not "prime" the bottles with a sprinkle of sugar just before capping.  Because we want to press at Thanksgiving and bottle at Christmas, we might need to invest in a blanket to get that yeast moving.

Does anyone know if there is there a good/cheap way to grind the pears up.  The wash and prep process of these culls really slowed us down, so  our labor of love really started to feel like work.


Harvest 2011

Among famous traitors of history one might mention the weather...From sea to shining sea, we know something is up.  The birds knew it, the bees knew it.  Our crop was less than awesome this year.  We could blame it on the house renovation that took a few months longer that expected.  Ok, we might have missed the timing on the pruning, the early spraying, the late spraying and watering, but I think we will blame it on the weather since it can't argue the point.

Our crop was about 10% smaller than 2010.  The quality was on par with other seasons but with a larger percent of small fruit.  The largest and tastiest went right into the stores. What is left to sell?  Call Rich and see what he has left.

We experimented, east-of-eden fashion with bringing our crop closer to the consumer.  Loaded with a couple bins worth and a tank of gas, we took our wares to San Franciso in search of a market. You knew it, we knew it, but we had to prove it anyway.  Locally grown is not just a nice idea, there is a major savings in resources. What an expensive place to visit.  Let just say, the markets around Medford do not have to worry about losing out because of their neighbors to the south.

As the pear industry continues to shrink, cold storage has become harder to find.  We found space in the nick of time, thanks mostly to the good work of brother Steve Yancey.  Steve he has years of experience in horticulture. And, boy, can he sell insurance!





Harvest 2010

The pears have been picked. The mild summer and fall made our picking season a little later than normal this year. We were able to get plenty boxed for distribution to local outlets like Ray's and Ashland's food co-op, but the largest portion of our crop will be used by the Organically Growing Company for distribution in a variety of local and national products.

The crop size was about the same as last year, and the quality improved slightly. The flavor of our pears have always been exceptional, but the overall pear size has suffered since we began our transition to organic.  We feel it will take a few more seasons before the trees are producing optimally.

Like last year, we are pleased and encouraged by our efforts and will continue to work hard to improve our products.

Why did we juice all those pears?

Our goal has always been to distribute as much of our crop as possible. Along with our normal distribution of our best pears to the public, the remainder of our crop including boxes of small or blemished pears are being commercially juiced. Juicing allows us to distribute nearly 100%of our pears. We are excited and proud to have our pears improving the quality of flavor of locally and nationally produced organic products.

Secondarily, because we remember well the exciting and terrifying dreadof last year's cider bottle opening day, we hope the commercial pressing of our pears will help us create a cider with a uniform flavor that is uniquely ours that we can re-create from year to year.

Well, most of us feel that way.  Cider master Chris Perry feels the uniqueness is where the character lies.  Stay tuned.

Please send your warm thoughts and good wishes to Chris and his fiancee, Corinne, because they are planning to be married within the next year.


Pear Cider Oh My


Our plucky adventurers sample their the first batch of organic pear cider.

There was a nice break in the weather this memorial day weekend.  The sun warmed the earth this lazy early summer afternoon and it was nice to be together.  We strolled the orchard. Everything was green and made comments like, "the raised garden should be nearly deer-proof."

As we lingered, admiring the pond, Skip disappeared, but we hardly noticed.  When he returned he had two bottles in his hand.  "Shall we taste the fruits of our labors?"  He grinned.

With only one plastic cup and the open bottle between the six of us, we sipped, smiled and talked.  It was a rainbow of flavor that changed as the cider became accustomed to the air.  Sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, sometimes funky and always interesting, we had much to talk about.  The flavor, fermentation process, our choices of fruit, plans for future batches, science, pseudo science, philosophy, conspiracy theory.

We all decided that the batch was too small and  inconsistent to sell but were heartened at how much it had going for it.  We will, with great joy, continue to define and refine this product.

Thank you Sarah DiMuzio for your design talent in creating this year's label.



Find Our Pears at Rays Food Place

For a short time (while they last,) people in the Medford area will be able to buy our pears at area Ray's Food Places.  Through September and October, visit Ray's and look for our organic pears at very competitive prices.

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