We love working with our community and collaborating with all the wonderful people we have nearby, that’s why we are so excited to be releasing a new cider that took a trifecta of friend’s help to create the “Old Fort Cider”.
Coming full-circle in a community of apple lovers and released just in time for Fort Lewis’ graduation on Saturday, the Old Fort cider is made from apples grown in the 100+ year old orchard at the Old Fort Lewis in Hesperus.
The folks in Hesperus have generously given us apples from their almost eighty apple trees taken care of with help from Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project (MORP), Americorp National Civilian Community Corp (NCCC) and the Students at the Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College in Durango.
The life of the apple came full circle by the hands of The Good Food Collective who ventured out to the orchard on a “rainy, sleeting, and hail weathered day” to pick the apples that have been pressed to create Old Fort Cider.
Come celebrate the hyper local, circle of apples by tasting the end product!
We’ll be tapping the cider on Sunday, April 28th at 2pm at the cidery, but you can drink it anytime you are with us!
You can read more about the orchard bellow and the project’s collaborators through their links.
The Old Fort
An apple orchard was established at the Old Fort in the early 1900s. It is a combination of crab apples and traditional apples established on above ground grafts. There are no records indicating what varieties are present.
Nearly eighty, 100+ year old apple trees grow at the Old Fort at Hesperus Orchard. Over the last several years, MORP has grafted every tree and submitted leaf samples to the USDA-ARS for identification. Results confirm the rare, diversity growing here: Hibernal, Virginia Crab, Snow, Wealthy, poss Tetofsky, NW Greening, Old Fashioned Mac, and dozens of other unknown, grafted cultivars that are so rare that the lab does not have their match (although many of them match another in the orchard!). This work is made possible by a MORP partnership with Old Fort and a USDA Specialty Crop Grand Award for the state of Colorado.
2012: Work began to identify varieties in the orchard by mapping orchard, taking pictures of trees, blooms and apples
Grafts were taken from over 80 different trees.
First annual grafting and pruning demonstration held
2013: Grafting and Pruning Workshop held in April
2014: Grafting Workshop held in April
Wildlife fence built around entire orchard with electric fence
2015: Grafting Workshop held in April
2016: Orchard mapped with updated GPS technology
DNA samples taken from over 30 trees
2017: DNA results indicate there are several rare varieties including cider apple varieties
Click here to see all DNA results. Our orchard's trees begin with hesp
2018: Drip irrigation system was installed by NCCC crew
Extensive pruning of dead wood
Planted over 100 new saplings
80 grafts planted next to their parent and 20 cider varieties from WA orchard
First sale of cider apples to Fenceline Ciders
The Good Food Collective
About the Good Food Collective: The GFC is working with partnership across the region to reinstate an intact regional food system that supports a vibrant food economy, creates meaningful jobs, and ensures that EVERYONE in our community has the opportunity to enjoy fresh, healthy, local food! Learn more at www.goodfoodcolective.org and be sure to follow us on Facebook & Instagram @goodfoodcollectiveco -- we've got great snaps!