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Local Legend: Bernie, Apple Farmer and Brewer

Posted By Joshua Escobar On Oct 28, 2012 @ 2:09 pm In Sandbox,The Specials | Comments Disabled


He goes by Bernie, just Bernie. He is a 50-something year old man who grows Gravestein apples in Anderson, California. To the Berkeley Farmer’s Market each week he trucks crates of the wondrous fruit and bottles home-brewed ruddy, autumnal juices and vinegar derived from them. Some of his apple trees are a century old. His philosophy is simple, “To get good apples you need to take care of the trees.”

His apple juice is sold by the bottle and ice cold cup. He sells his vinegar in large jars with a tiny mouths, handles and diamond edges. His juice is sold at the Cheeseboard, a handful of grocery stores and at Blue Bottle Coffee shops on the Oakland Marina and San Francisco’s Embarcadero building.

The labels on his bottle bear his portrait, a broom mustached Nor Cal farmer with greyish-brown hair branching out from under baseball cap. Bernie started farming and brewing back in 1971. Since then his methods of tending to the trees, harvesting and brewing the fruit have not changed much. He anticipate they will. His apples — Gravestein, Gala and Golden — have always been raised organically and kept local. Though there are empirical methods to know when apples are ripe enough to pick, Bernie says taste works best. Sunburnt apples make really crisp brews. The fruit blooms late July, early August and finishes in November.

His prices are humble. An ice-cold cup of apple juice thick in taste costs $1.25. Each cup contains the work of seasons, orchards, critters, bugs and happy people. Bernie helps keep apple farming alive and well.

Image source: Orphanjones [1] under Creative Commons

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