Apple Cider and Orchard

OUR ORCHARD

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 in 2016-17 took our tree count to 325.

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.

We now have 4 styles of cider, all bottle conditioned:

  • 2015 Bone Dry Cider  ( Bronze medal winner Red Hill show 2017 and Australian Cider Awards 2017) All residual sugar is converted to alcohol and the final alcohol concentration is usually about 7%. there is no residual Glucose or Fructose and may suit Fructose intolerant folks who can’ usually tolerate fruit based drinks.
  • 2017 Dry Cider ( Silver Medal winner 2017 Australian Cider awards) : has just a touch of residual fruit sugar.
  • 2017 Semi-Dry Cider fermentation stopped with mid fruit sugar levels for those who prefer a slightly sweeter drink.
  • 2017 Spiced Cider – a versatile “mulled” or spiced cider with citrus and spices which is great as a warmed drink in winter or as a refreshing chilled afternoon spritzer

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 avoid excessive sugary content and have the fruit flavours coming through. The fizz from the natural carbonation ( bottle conditioning) 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.

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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.