All American Apples

Once again in the name of research, I sallied forth to the beautiful Valley on a bright summer day. My destination this time was not Gowan’s venerable fruit stand, but rather, their cider tasting room, just a curve or two away down highway 128, the wine road through the Valley.

Arriving at the tasting area, I was warmly greeted by helpful, friendly staff, who could tell me everything I could ever need to know about Gowan’s award-winning ciders. They are gaining a prestigious reputation throughout California and even the entire country, winning countless awards. For a reasonable $15, you can taste 6 ciders, ranging from dry to sweet and light to rich. Alas, I was driving, so I just admired them in the bottles, but they certainly looked fabulous. Needless to say, I was particularly taken with the rosé. Champagne (or, OK, sparkling wine) and hard cider are both more delightful when they are my signature color.

It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting for cider tasting than an orchard of century-old apple trees. You can drink Gowan’s cider under the very trees where the apples were grown. Wooden tables are dotted throughout the orchard, with umbrellas for shade under the sunny summer skies:

In the rainy season, the tastings move to a charming, rustic barn on the property, stacked with vintage wooden apple crates and antique cider pressing equipment.

It was quite delightful to see. There can’t be many places where you can sit in an orchard and sip the cider made from the trees you’re sitting under. Well, I guess I can do it at the family estate, but most people can’t.

Since I was so close by, I stopped in at the landmark farm stand:

and picked up some raspberries, cherry tomatoes, and the first corn of the season, before heading back to the cool breezes of the coast.

A YEAR AGO: The welcome appearance of the shade sails at Megan’s place. We are still enjoying them!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Family dinner with a couple of guest stars.

TEN YEARS AGO: Hooray for recoveries all around!

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Welcome to the Female Jungle!

TWENTY YEARS AGO: Peaches seem to be my madeleines.

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