My guest for this episode is Eric Shatt. With his wife and partner Deva, Eric is the owner of Redbyrd Orchard Cider in the Finger Lakes Region of NY. I love that Deva and Eric put the orchard first in their name and in their philosophy of cider making. In fact, Eric is an apple breeder and preservationist. He grows over 150 varieties of apples in his 4-acre orchard and is cultivating trees propagated from the wild and then crossed with others. He also makes some unique and delicious cider.
Eric tells us how all that diversity in the orchard provides reinforcements against the unpredictable nature of, um, nature, and how it can also provide consistency to the cider. He gives us an intro to grafting, and discusses his unique approach to making cider, as well as his desire to promote freedom of technique and experimentation in the cellar.
Redbyrd has been certified biodynamic for years, but Eric and I discuss how he came to be aware of biodynamics’ troubling origins and the beliefs of Rudolf Steiner. While Eric is drawn to the spiritual connections in farming that biodynamics brings attention to, we discuss why its history has caused he and Deva to question whether it is something they’ll continue to support via certification.
This is a succulent conversation on many levels because of Eric’s thoughtfulness and curiosity about the many unknowns that are part of farming and making wine in our little corner of the cosmos.