A Community Cider Released Just In Time For The Holidays!
Honey Moon Mead & Cider announced the release of their 2016 Bellingham Extra CiderHead, the delicious result of a community-focused project that aims to capture the essence of Bellingham (WA) in a bottle. Now in its second year, this unique and particularly local hard cider blend is made from apples grown all over Bellingham city, quite literally in their own backyards. This year’s vintage contains dozens of different varieties of apples, including Spartan, Snow, Melrose, King, Akane, Gravenstein and Jonagold, as well as many mystery varieties from wild or heirloom trees.
Favorable growing conditions this year produced a bumper crop of tree fruit, and local residents with “extra” apples on their hands have been eager to participate in the project. During the harvest season the folks at Honey Moon collected more than 12,000 pounds of local fruit that would otherwise have gone unused. Contributors received vouchers for a portion of the finished cider to be redeemed at Honey Moon any time.
“We were overwhelmed by the response,” says Murphy Evans, Honey Moon’s owner and the driving force behind the project. “People were dropping off buckets and boxes full of apples at our shop, and the phone was ringing off the hook for our crew to come and harvest trees. It’s been really fantastic.”
Six tons of apples yielded about 1,000 gallons of juice, all of it pressed at Honey Moon’s facility in downtown Bellingham, which is bursting at the seams this time of year. Evans worked with a local machinist to design and build a custom press expressly for the purpose.
“The press was designed to be mobile, so we could roll it onto the patio where we have more room to work. The added bonus was that folks could watch the press in action, and even toss a few of their own apples into the hopper if they wanted to. It made the community connection that much stronger,” continued Evans.
The final product has been carefully tended to produce a one-of-a-kind cider that reflects the climate, terroir and spirit of Bellingham in 2016. To celebrate its release, Honey Moon threw a release party on Small Business Saturday – perfectly fitting – with tours, tastings, special apple-themed treats, and music by Bilongo Quintet.
The 2016 Bellingham Extra CiderHead (4.5% ABV) will be available in 22oz. bottles for a suggested retail price of $8.00/bottle and on tap at Honey Moon as well as area stores and restaurants, while supplies last. As a way of giving back to the community that helped make it possible, Honey Moon will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation.