A few weeks back I was invited to a hard cider tour and tasting at the AppleGarden Farm. This beautifully quaint farm is tucked away in Tomales (CA) and run by the sweetest couple, Jan and Louis Lee. They are the cider artisans behind the refreshingly light and crisp beverage. In the past, I have only had hard cider that was incredibly sweet and not something you could pair easily with meals. Their brew of cider could not be more opposite and I must say it was a welcomed change! It contains zero added sugars, flavorings or concentrates AND it’s gluten-free. In addition, their beverage is created 100% from fermented apple juice, solely from apples grown on their beautiful farm.
I must say the AppleGarden Farm was an absolutely breathtaking piece of property, filled with life and most of all top-notch hard cider. From the first sip Jan gave us throughout the tour, I had many different recipe pairings running through my head! I highly recommend taking a trip up there to experience this first hand. You can easily schedule a tour of your own through their website. It’s definitely a fun experience to share with friends and family.
Throughout the tour I learned that their hard cider is entirely organic and the cider making process is 100% green, so nothing goes to waste. Even the pulp is put out and consumed by local wildlife critters or given to their neighbor’s sheep 🙂 It was very clear that they not only care deeply about the pureness of their product, they equally care about the environment. We love that.
During the tour, Jan graciously explained the entire process of how they make their cider. They oversee the entire operation from planting the apple trees to creating every drop of hard cider that fills their bottles. It truly is a labor of love and one that I now have such admiration for. Jan recommends pairing their cider with savory foods and meals. Charcuterie, briny oysters, poultry, fish or full-bodied cheeses such as Point Reyes Bay Blue were highly recommended as well.
When tasting the cider, I decided to pair it with seafood and cooked up a batch of my steamed clams. The flavor combo is divine!
-2 1/2 lbs fresh clams (Manila clams are my fav)
-1/2 cup organic cultured butter
-1/2 bottle of white wine
-1 medium shallot, diced
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-1 small handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
In a large skillet, melt your butter & turn heat to medium-low. Add in your garlic and shallots, allow to cook down for 3-4 minutes. Pour in your wine and allow to reduce for another 2-3 minutes. Add your clams and turn to medium heat. Boil on medium until your clams open (typically takes 5-7 minutes).
Serve with a little fresh Italian parsley and a nice chilled glass of AppleGarden Farm Cider 🙂
A specials thanks again to Jan for introducing us to such a wonderful beverage. If your curious to buy some for yourself (highly recommended) check out their website for a list of locations.
Happy holidays to everyone!