Sculpted granite whalebacks swim to the surface of blueberry barrens and hilltop balds. Hewn from the craggy coast by massive sheets of ice, they are a record of the forces that shaped this place, representing the marriage of land and sea in past and present. From ice-age marine deposits rich in root nourishing minerals to ephemeral sea-fogs sipped through spring leaves, the apple trees growing here benefit from this ebb and flow across the eons.
It feels like a long wait, as the fruit slowly swells through the dog days of August, but finally - that first meltingly sweet bite! After months of careful cultivation it’s time to harvest, one handful of tender, velvety peaches at a time; no bruising these beauties. The plums, taut skins covered with a dusty matte bloom, are a hardier bunch and tumble off the branch by the basketful. We ferment these succulent stone fruits together for a delicate dry summer treat.
Pendant bunches of grapes, some a dusky blue, others burnished gold, grow heavy by the time the first hints of frost nip the low hollows of our farm. With trellis posts leaning in and wires bowed down, we wonder how the slender vines carry all that load. No less miraculous is the heft of the honey supers on the hive, golden wildflower nectar slowly building up in the comb, bee by bee. We blend this stockpile of summer days for a full-bodied fall libation.
As summer slips into autumn and flocks of birds start loudly gossiping at the edges of our orchard, we know the aronia and elderberry must be ripe. Our fingers and palms slowly turn from light blue to deep purple as we painstakingly comb through each bush, gleaming dark berries falling with a satisfying plunk into the bottom of the basket. After a gentle squeeze and a slow ferment, they add a tannic richness and a purple tint to the cider too.
The clear gold light of autumn afternoon filters through long rows of apple trees. Low limbs proffer the bounty within easy reach as we walk the verdant avenues. Carefully selecting for a hint of something special – a light wildflower aroma, or a subtle note of strawberry – we glean the best from local orchards nestled within these coastal hills. Our cider press and native yeasts do the rest to bring out the clean, bright taste of fresh Maine apples.
The magnificent profusion of branches and boughs in the noble old trees is the first thing you notice at Teltane Farm. Stepping closer, the unusual apples catch your eye. A rich purple, that’s Black Oxford, or a vivid green splashed with pink, Maiden’s Blush. And the deep red ones streaked with gold, those are Lightnings, born from the chance strike of an old Baldwin tree. Aromatic and ambrosial, these heirloom apples all have a unique story and flavor.
How did we manage to wade so deep into another bramble? Must have been that spray of yellow crab apples beckoning behind the poplar that lured us off the road. Then that glimpse of vibrant red fruit peeking through the tangle of wild rose lead us further in. So it goes on the annual fall hunt; thorn scratched and branch smacked but beaming with excitement, our boxes full of wild treasure, we forage a hard-won harvest, well worth every sip.
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