In Cahoots Heirloom Apple Collaborative is not your typical HDFFA producer: it is a group of community members who work together to discover, save, and cultivate rare and vintage heirloom apples by restoring old apple trees and propagating these almost-lost varieties. The collaborative shares the apples with the community each year in a delightful way: they combine their harvest and team up with 10 Barrel Brewing, Deschutes Brewery, Ale Apothecary and Crux Fermentation to create locally-sourced ciders, beers and other beverages. Join us for a journey from forgotten trees to delicious local beverages, thanks to In Cahoots!
The collaborative now includes at least six century-old orchards that yield thousands of pounds of Northern Spy, Winter Banana and other vintage varieties. The group works to return the trees to good health and to preserve line of the unique apples they produce. Some of their apples are rare, and the only ones in existence: they are preserving the lines of Northern Spy, Winter Banana and other vintage varieties. Shaun Shepherd and Joannie Cooper (The Apple Detectives) were able to identify several rare varieties of apples that are only in existence in their Central Oregon orchards.
The orchards are all organically managed and the collaborative works together to share not only their harvest, but also information on pest control, disease management, pruning, and general knowledge. Production varies each year due to many factors. Most years they have at least one or two frosts during blossom weeks and this causes a significant reduction in fruit. Last year there were temperatures in the 20’s for several nights in October. They also battle against the codling moth, box elder bugs, birds, and now two resident porcupines.
The apples are picked and stored in a cool environment for a few weeks to enhance sugars and juiciness. The processing varies, depending on the end product. To make ciders and other mixed fermentations the apples are crushed and juiced. Ale Apothecary “smoked” the apples and fermented them in a barrel with malted barley to create a slightly hopped cider. After juicing, In Cahoots apples are transformed into ciders, graffs, brandy, and mixed fermentations. This year Oregon Spirit Distillers will mash the apples from the 2020 crop to produce an apple brandy.
Some of the tasting notes for these uniquely local beverages:
Crux Cider: well balanced, slightly tart, and easy drinking cider features the pure characteristics and terrior of these Central Oregon grown apples
Deschutes Brewery’s Historic Oregon Super Juice is the grand finale of the brewery’s 30th-anniversary family tree collaboration beers. An extremely exclusive, limited release, Historic Oregon Super Juice is funky and tart with notes of baked apple and light graham cracker.
Ten Barrel Cider: wild yeast fermented cider with herbal undertones and a lemon meringue creamy finish.
“Heirloom apples like these are really hard to come by. You’re drinking the terroir of the community.”
— Crux Brewmaster Bianca Thomas