Perry and Louisa live on a ten-acre plot of land not far outside of Middlebury, Vermont. He teaches math at a high school; she’s a professor at the nearby university. Their property features idyllic views overlooking Otter Creek, a feature they prize far more than the collection of untamed apple trees that grow under their noses. Not that these trees don’t add to the beauty, but outside the occasional good season where a couple of trees produce fruit the couple deems edible, most of them simply fertilize the ground or feed the local wildlife. So when each walks over to Colin Davis, one of the men behind the Shoreham-based cidery Shacksbury, and his small group of cohorts who are about to haul away dozens of bushels of their fruit, both Perry and Louisa are happy to see that this year all those apples won’t be going to waste.
Davis was simply driving down the road when he noticed the wild growing trees. During harvest season he always keeps an eye out for unused fruit for Shacksbury’s Lost and Found Craft Cider, which he makes from foraged apples. After a polite knock on the door, these two strangers gave Davis permission to pick from their property; in return, they’re offered a case or so of the cider they will have helped make, albeit in a somewhat passive way. As Perry chats with the Shacksbury guys—today, just a three-man foraging operation—he explains the kind of cider his wife is into: the farmhouse style, not too sweet. Michael Lee, the lauded cheesemaker behind Twig Farm who could best be described as Shacksbury’s secret weapon, helping Davis hone in on which fruit will work best for his project, listens quietly from the edge of a truck bed full of apples. A knowing smile crosses his face: “It won’t be too sweet.”
Shacksbury, the brand Davis launched with cofounder David Dolginow in 2013, began foraging for apples early on. They dubbed their first vintage the 1840; subsequent foraged ciders, including last year’s harvest, are now known as Lost and Found. It’s fermented from a balanced mix of heirloom cider apples and what Shacksbury calls “lost apples”—that is, the fruit they forage in Vermont.