The Paradise of Apples

Loaded Branch at Green Mountain Orchard

One of the best things about travel is discovering (or, in our case, re-discovering) some great foods. Although we like the apples from Oak Glen, where we journeyed yesterday, nothing can compare with the tanginess of apples and apple cider from Vermont and New Hampshire. There is something about the granitic soil that does something rich and strange to the flavor. And when you make cider from them—without killing the flavor by pasteurizing—the result is one of the most refreshing drinks on the planet.

The first couple of days of our vacation in September were spent in Vermont. After a brief stop at the Vermont Country Store in Rockingham, we drove to nearby Putney, where Green Mountain Orchard is located. We had heard they sold unpasteurized apple cider, and it was true. Between the two of us, we guzzled a whole quart of the stuff and then spent an hour just driving around the property and seeing their trees (such as the one above) as well as their stands of raspberry and blueberry bushes.

When we crossed over the border into Canada, we hoped to be able to find equivalent quality. We bought a bag from a farm stand just west of Fredericton, New Brunswick, but it wasn’t the same thing. The terrain had changed to fertile flatlands, which are good for most crops, but which result in so-so fruit.

I remember buying apple cider by the gallon from Tanzi’s Grocery (now long gone) in Hanover, New Hampshire, when I was a student at Dartmouth. Because at the time we had no access to refrigerators, the students would hang the gallon jugs by the eyelet from their dorm room windows. Most did this to ferment it into hard cider. I just wanted to drink good, cold cider. (Naturally, it was unpasteurized.)

Northern New England will forever go down in my memory for its apples, its Maine lobster, and a delicious preparation of young cod, haddock, or whitefish called scrod that Martine and I ate in Boston back in 2005.