a family-run operation
Located in Western Massachusetts, Carr's Ciderhouse is an orchard-based business committed to creating delicious, small-batch cider products. We take the time required to create exceptional wild-fermented hard ciders, intensely sweet cider syrups, and fruity apple cider vinegars, using long-standing, traditional methods.
We are a husband and wife team – Jonathan Carr and Nicole Blum – who officially launched our operation in 2012 after six years of tending our baby apple trees (they take a long time to mature!) Formerly organic market gardeners at the turn of the century, we find it exciting to now run a business based on products we have shepherded from planting the saplings – to corking the bottles!
Our no-spray orchard is located on the northwest slope of Mount Warner, overlooking the Connecticut River and the breathtakingly beautiful valley it runs through. The shallow sandy-loam soil of this hillside, underlain with quartzite and feldspar bedrock, enables us to grow intensely-flavored apples of high sugar content. Our young orchard of 2500 apple trees was planted between 2007 and 2012, with more planting ongoing. The trees are producing an interesting selection of apples such as Yarlington Mill, Golden Russet, Kingston Black, Goldrush, and Dabinett – apples we know add a tremendous amount of complexity and richness to our ciders.
distinctive HARD CIDERS AND PRODUCTS
We press our apples on a refurbished century-old Mount Gilead cider press (one of the oldest working presses in New England, we suppose) when the weather starts turning cold around Thanksgiving. It’s usually December by the time we finish pressing. The majority of our hard ciders are naturally fermented (relying on wild yeasts, rather than commercial ones) at low temperatures for a period of months, because we want our finished ciders to retain their fruit bouquet and delicate complexity. Our ciders pair very well with all sorts of foods.
Carr’s Ciderhouse is committed to growing apples with minimum harm to the land. To this end, we have initiated a research program (funded by SARE grant FNE-772) which seeks to breed promising varieties of apples which do not need to be sprayed with synthetic compounds to ensure productivity. Our first group of novel seedlings is a cross between GoldRush and Golden Russet and is currently being evaluated in the field for disease resistance and hardiness. Research is ongoing – contact Jonathan for more information.