Fall in New England

I would sacrifice some non-trivial amount of my life if I could live all of it in the Fall.

It's not that I dislike the other seasons, they're lovely in their own ways. I'm a New England boy, and four distinct seasons have always been a part of how the world works.

But Autumn is when it all happens. Plants ripen, the air smells right. It has some rot in it from dead leaves and probably a little wood-smoke from somewhere.

I'm feeling particularly grateful for the Fall when I smell the tiny wisps of smoke. I'm thinking about friends and family on the West Coast, choking in clouds of it and fleeing wildfires. With the recognition that recurrent and amplified disasters like this are tangible pieces of climate change, the current perfection of a North East Autumn feels more precious and tenuous. 

So we try and preserve what we have. Fall is when the wine making happens. Or, around the Kron place, a thick, bubbly, and coarse grape cider. 

And when I say coarse, I mean seriously raw and unprocessed. 

We Pick


Ferment for a day

Stick a siphon into the puddle at the bottom of the pile of pulp

And bottle it up!

The whole process is over in a couple days and we're sipping pro-biotic goodness, replenishing the hell out of our gut flora. We used to filter, sterilize, balance sugars, press, apply various kinds of nutrient mixes and generally try and control the process. If it all worked out and the stars aligned, it would end up tasting like a very funky and slightly sour bottle of cheap rosé. So we changed the approach, did it fast and chunky, and called it cider instead of wine. It's pretty unique, and I can say with the completely un-objective palate of a proud father that it's friggin' awesome.

Over the years, I've found that it's also not very stable, so best to drink it immediately. This has some . . . positive and negative aspects. This season we made about 12 gallons from approximately 220 pounds of grapes and I hope to have it all gone before election day.

A new addition to the seasonal routine is cleaning a few pounds of whole grapes and pickling them in grain alcohol. (Side note: because of Covid, we have a large supply of 95% Ethanol, as we stocked up when all the hand sanitizer disappeared from stores. Having abundant, pure, food-grade ethanol presents a number of opportunities . . . put it in a spray bottle for cleaning anything from hands to computer screens to apples. You can sterilize your sharp instruments and clean wounds. Light fires, make tinctures, and dissolve a surprising variety of household items, all without going blind! Every well supplied house would do well to keep a jug or six handy.) After a couple of months, you have a sweet and flavorful liquor that tastes like the Platonic Ideal of "grape". I recommend aging it in the freezer if you have space. 
Pairs well with a smelly cheese, but not with open flames.

Don't forget to compost your leftovers.