Do you know what it takes to grow specialty apples to make organic apple cider and brandy??
In this Thriving Farmer podcast, we’re joined by Deirdre Birmingham, Co-Founder of The Cider Farm, located in Madison, Wisconsin.
The Cider Farm grows true cider apples organically for the purposes of making The Cider Farm brand of (hard) ciders and apple brandy. They are arguably the only orchard in the US that started for this purpose.
The Cider Farm’s products are not intended to compete with the mass-market ciders or brandies. Rather, they use special ingredients, small batch attention, and handcrafting to provide a complex and unique flavor experience. Their standards are inspired by European and American traditions. The Cider Farm staff is dedicated to their art and to providing folks with something special.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- How Deirdre got into farming 2:03
- The struggles and things Deidre has learned from producing quality apples 8:54
- How different apple varieties are harvested differently 16:45
- How long apples are fermented for 26:32
- Size of the current Cider Farm team 29:32
- Percentage of the farm’s products sold in their tasting room as opposed to what they ship across the nation 35:13
- How the business is managed, and what Deirdre would change as the business was being built 37:44
- How The Cider Farm has driven traffic into their tasting room 45:19
- Deirdre’s favorite farming tool 48:27
About the Guest:
Deirdre Birmingham co-owns the business with her husband, John Biondi, and she manages The Cider Farm in Wisconsin. They are a 166-acre farm, including an 18-acre certified organic cider apple orchard. Deirdre and John started the orchard in 2003 by taking a class on grafting. They wanted to get the English and French tannic apple varieties for the purpose of fermenting their apple juice to ciders and apple brandy. While Deirdre has three degrees in agriculture, she never took a class on horticulture, nor did she grow up on a farm. But she and John have learned from hands-on experience and research how to build and run a successful cider farm business.
The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor!
Real Organic Project is a farmer-led movement that provides an add-on certification held by over 1,000 certified organic, family-owned operations across North America. Real Organic Project strives to uplift farms working within the spirit, not just the letter, of organic principles. Real Organic certified farmers use practices that are centered around the foundational organic principles of soil-based crop production and pasture-based livestock agriculture. To remain accessible to all types of farmers, Real Organic Project fundraises year round to keep this certification available at no cost to farmers.
You can apply today at realorganicproject.org/thrivingfarmer.