Long before the advent of conventional farming methods - which have focused on constant growth, human intervention, and genetic homogeneity - the apple had already grown to become the ubiquitous all-American symbol it is today. Known for their hardiness, ability to adapt to new environments, natural diversity, and plentiful bounty, wildly grown apples were once known as “America’s fruit” throughout the trading world. Yet those apple trees - known as pippins - have nearly vanished from the American agricultural landscape, and so, too, have the complexities and nuances of wild apples and their cider. Andy Brennan, founder of Aaron Burr Cidery in upstate New York, has been making a case for their return.
In his new book, Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living, Brennan’s hero is the tenacious wild apple and the superior cider it produces. In candid and at times philosophical prose, he shares his decades-long experience working with naturalized trees - from discovering new tastes and textures to understanding how the wild apple tree guided him toward a successful, environmentally conscious business. At the heart of his story is Brennan’s faith in nature, and its unfailing ability to deliver us from our own mistakes.
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