What a sweet story! Jan & Louis Lee retired and started making cider. They grow the fruit on their land in Tomales, CA in Marin County. The apples and their farm are certified organic! However, the cider does contain sulfites.
Here are some notes from Jan & Louis on their farm and production:
We field-mix our apples after picking, pressing as they ripen with no particular variety in each batch. This means that the cider fermented first in the fall, using the early ripening apples, will be somewhat “leaner” and lighter than the cider fermented later in the year which is slightly richer and more mellow. We discovered that there is actually very little difference between the early and late ciders unless they’re compared side by side so decided not to try to reach a specific blend with each batch but to embrace the slight difference.
We also wanted to have a complete hands-on operation: we would not only grow and hand-pick all the apples, we’d also take care of all the other operations that go with cider making: sort, wash, grind, and press. We built our own cider press that is perfect for a two-person operation. After picking the apples as they ripen, we store them at a controlled temperature for a couple of weeks so they completely develop all the inherent sugars. We then wash, sort, and press, putting the juice into 30 gallon drums to ferment. Using all natural yeast, we watch the fermentation closely and when it’s finished, rack into another stainless steel drum to mature. When we decide the cider is ready after a few months, bottling and labeling is done by hand so that each bottle is the perfect result of months of loving care. We hope you enjoy this delicious cider!