What makes most cider and cidermaking intriguing to our team is the grounding nature of family and tradition in the industry. Small farms or family-owned orchards use their apples for a variety of purposes, and generally make cider for the adult member of the family and friends to enjoy. More and more, these small farms are taking their favorite ciders and making them public or, in the case of Ferro Farms, handcrafting the perfectly blended cider using their terrain to their advantage.
Ferro Farms is a family-owned cidery located in southeast Wisconsin, just outside of Lake Geneva. This area is known as the Kettle Moraine, a glacially-formed region that accumulated glacial debris to enrich the soil. It made for a unique terrain for the trees to flourish, and this includes Ferro’s farmland. The product of this enriched environment? Apples that are smaller, but carry a light-bodied, fruit-forward flavor perfect for hard cider.
Having the right apples is just a part of the equation. Now you need someone who had blend the varieties together. Ferro Farms cider is crafted by expert cidermaker, Charles McGonegal. If you are not familiar with his work, he is the owner of Aeppeltreow Winery Artisan Cider and Spirits out of Burlington, WI. Not only is he a chemist by day, but he has helped develop the unique flavors of Ferro Farm.
Charles has focused their brand of cider by mixing Red Delicious, Cortland, Idared, McIntosh, Honey Crisp, and Northern Spy, plus small amounts of historic English types, like Cox’s Orange Pippen, Kingston Black, and Ashmead’s Kernel. This blend add tannins to the cider and rounds out the flavor. Some of the oldest planted tree in the fields are McIntosh trees from the 1950’s. Ferro has planted new trees every year to experiment with cider-specific apples and the desired combinations.
Ferro’s orchard is commercial and not open to the public but they rely on friends to help harvest the apples from the farm. And, my favorite part, is in providing help with the harvest, you can take home some of these award-winning apples. Where’s the sign-up list?
Speaking of award winning, this family farm has created apples that are winners of blue ribbons at the Walworth County fair in Wisconsin. Coupling these apples and the resulting knowledge of chemistry and crafting cider, Ferro Farms has created award-winning cider, winning honors at the 2015 & 2016 GLINTCAP, Medocino Apple Show International Cider Competition in 2017, and Tasting.com.
With an amazing product, what does Ferro Farms have in their future and how will they grow? Ferro has plans to develop more flavors and varieties of their cider offerings. To fill the void for customers looking for a more crushable product, Ferro has created 12 oz slim cans, launching in early 2018. A big bonus, the skinny cans are only 180 calories! They also put their product in 750mL bottles and 1/6 barrel kegs. One of our favorite places to pick up Ferro Farm’s cider is at Costco. They carry the 750ML bottles, our favorite bottled/canned experience.
If you are on the lookout for their ciders they can be found at various locations in Wisconsin & Illinois:
http://www.ferrofarms.com/illinois | http://www.ferrofarms.com/wisconsin
You can also find them on social media: