Our apple and pear orchard of heritage cider and perry varietals was planted in 2010 and had its first crop in 2014. A secnd major planting was commenced in 2016 and will be completed in 2017.
Hart’s Farm Bottle Fermented Apple Cider is produced from both heritage apples from our farm and more modern varieties from friends’ orchards in Red Hill.
The apples are picked, crushed and pressed within a day. Filtration through fine mesh removes large sediments. Primary fermentation is commenced immediately after pressing. Ambient Temperatures are generally low teens and primary fermentation proceeds slowly over the next 4 weeks or so. As our apples mature over a period of 4-6 weeks, the first ferments are racked and stored in air tight stainless steel tanks prior to blending when all the fruit has been harvested and processed.
Final blending precedes bottling with additional apple juice and yeast and this creates the secondary fermentation for natural carbonation. A natural sediment may form from the secondary yeast.
All residual sugar is converted to alcohol and the final alcohol concentration is usually about 7%.
The flavour of the finished cider will vary slightly from year to year and batch to batch depending on available fruit and seasonal characteristics. All share a very dry quality but with the fruit flavours coming through. The ebullient fizz from the natural carbonation lasts the life of the drink in the glass.
In 2016, we produced our first Cider Vinegar which is currently maturing in old French Oak Pinot Noir barrels.
Cider is available at the Farm Gate on Sunday afternoons and public holidays, by appointment or on- line. Selected outlets and restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula and Melbourne also stock the cider.
Traditional apple varieties include: Braeburn (fabulous eating as well), Cox’s Orange Pippin, Somerset Red Streak, Golden Harvey, Bullmer’s Norman, Improved Foxwhelp, Yarlington Mill, Laxton’s Superb, Kingston Black, Sweet Coppin, Calville Blanc d’Hiver, Dabinett, King David, Frequin Rouge D’Amer, Ribbston Pippin.
Additional varietals include: Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Jonathon, Pink Lady and Fuji.