Marin County is renowned for its multitude of artisan and locally produced foods. AppleGarden Farms, Marin County's only commercial organic cidery, occupies what was once the Cerini estate. In 2007, husband and wife, Louis and Jan Lee, bought the Tomales acreage and began planting a cider apple orchard. The cidery is their 'retirement' plan after leaving their careers in construction management.
AppleGarden Farms is a family owned and operated artisan hard cider 'tree-to-bottle' operation. Jan and Louis are involved in every part of the process, from choosing, planting and tending to over 40 varieties of heritage cider apple trees. Heritage apples tend to have bittersweet and tannic taste profiles.
Each season from the end of August through the end of October, the husband and wife hand pick, wash, sort, grind and press the apples. The farmstead cider includes apples from their orchards only and is field blended, meaning the resulting cider is developed from a blend of all varieties of their apple orchard. The juice is fermented for three weeks and then placed in stainless steel barrels along with natural yeast to mature for 8 to 9 months. AppleGarden Farms produces small-batch hard cider. In 2016 they estimate production to be approximately 10, 120-gallon batches.
The result is a handcrafted New World dry, hard cider with 7% alcohol, no added sweeteners or concentrates and minimal effervescence. The food-friendly cider pares beautifully with Marin's locally produced cheeses and oysters.
AppleGarden Farms cider is 100% organic, holding both a USDA organic certification as well as the Marin Organic Certificate of Agriculture (MOCA) stamp. They have also won a silver medal in the Dan Berger International Cider Competition, competing against several hundred hard cider makers from around the globe.
Hard cider is the fastest growing segment of the craft beverage industry surpassing beer and wine. It is enjoyed by men and women alike and is gluten-free, adding to its popularity in the current beverage market.
AppleGarden Farms cider is available at a number of local Marin eateries and markets including:
- The Marshall Store & Oyster Bar (Marshall)
- Marin French Cheese Factory (Red Hill Road, Petaluma)
- Tomales Bay Foods/Cowgirl Creamery (Point Reyes Station)
- Osteria Stellina (Point Reyes Station)
- Sir & Star (at the Olema)
- Rocker Oysterfeller’s (Valley Ford)
- Taste Kitchen & Table (Fairfax)
- Nick's Cove (Marshall)
- Upcider Gastropub (San Francisco)
- Petaluma Market (Petaluma)
The Farm also offers a Bed and Breakfast, the Apple Garden Cottage, allowing visitors to stay and experience a relaxing day on the farm.