In the middle of 2016 my girlfriend and I took our baby to visit some dear old friends in Northern California. We were coming together after a long absence. We'd all been to university together and had since embarked on our own lives but remarkably there was a shared narrative keeping us linked over the years apart.
While Faire Ferments was gaining strength here in Australia a beautiful farm in Mendocino county CA was about to be revived by my good friend. Oz Farm had traditionally been run as many things, an events space, a refuge, a self sustaining food farm, and of course, an apple orchard.
Luckily for my friend the previous guardians of the farm had a keen interest in diversity and their eye for unique apple varieties was keenly trained. Walking around the orchard I quickly lost count of the many varieties grown on both trellis and free standing. So beautiful was the layout of the farm that some of the photos used on this website are now from the Oz Farm orchard.
The varieties were endless but one stood out above the rest. The famous Pink Pearl looks innocuous enough hanging from the tree, but once you cut the flesh the pink hue and resulting pink juice is like nothing I've seen before.
The Oz Farm team were in the middle of market season and would press the Pink Pearl every week to take to market as juice. Needless to say the juice never lasted long.
Of course our discussions quickly turned to cider - not just pink cider - but cider generally and the capacity for Oz Farm to one day release a label of its own. I'm really happy to say that since our visit Oz has teamed up with a local wine and cider producer - Horse & Plough in Sonoma - and released a short Oz Farm bottling.
As far as I know you probably have to hit the cellar door in Sonoma to get you hands on a bottle but I'm full of confidence that this is the first step of many on the way to regular bottlings coming out of Oz Farm.
I've attached a photo here of the label and will get an image of the Pink Pearl up shortly. Needless to say if you find yourself in Northen California hunt down either Oz Farm or Horse & Plough and check out this friend of Co-Op Cider.