Monday, October 14, 2013

Virginia back roads ... Foggy Ridge Cider

"It is indeed bad to eat apples. It is better to make them all into cider ."
--Benjamin Franklin

 Foggy Ridge Cider ... what a delightful discovery on the back roads of Virginia as we explored communities near the Blue Ridge Parkway! You've heard of Dugspur, right? No? It's a tiny little community tucked away off Rt. 58 in Carroll County, and that was where we were headed to check out this award-winning cider. After all, September is apple season in the Commonwealth.

The website had an inviting greeting that intrigued me: "At Foggy Ridge Cider we value a rural life. Dirt roads, starry skies and plenty of wildlife are more important to us than WalMart, Hardees or a shopping mall. The surrounding three counties average 1.3 traffic lights and less than 20,000 people per county. This is a good thing.While we're not on the beaten path, we are easy to find and will greet all visitors with a warm and gracious welcome."

I like places that are off the beaten path so we set out in search of Foggy Ridge Cider, following Buffalo Mountain in the distance and the wildflowers along the roadways and the occasional brightly-colored tree signaling fall had arrived. It was late September and the weather was sunny and cool.

We arrived just in time for a tasting with two other couples. Lynn was our warm and friendly server and entertainer, providing an excellent presentation of artisan cider and story-telling that kept everyone laughing as they tossed out verbal observations after each offering. The comfortable feeling was of seven friends enjoying an afternoon drinking hand-crafted cider while overlooking the orchard with Buffalo Mountain in the background.

 Buffalo Mountain. It was said that in pioneer days, children were given permission to roam as long as they had Buffalo Mountain in their sights. It can be seen from a thirty-mile radius. It looms over the orchard at Foggy Ridge.

Reviews over the years have been numerous and glowing, as seen in the framed copies on the walls of the tasting room.

Diane Flynt, owner and cider artist, wrote: "Simple is often best–think of a just caught whole fish brushed with fruity olive oil and grilled on a bed of fresh herbs. Or pasta topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and a syrupy balsamic vinegar. Simple is also best with cider. Foggy Ridge Cider begins in the orchard with apples carefully selected for their unique flavors and grown for taste, not appearance. In our cidermaking, we aim to put this fruit in the bottle with minimal manipulation."

We adopted three bottles to take home for enjoying and sharing.

First Fruit cider blends early season American heirloom apples to create a rich fruity cider with lively acidity to drink, like Thomas Jefferson, on its own or with a meal.

Foggy Ridge Handmade, bottled in baby champagne bottles, is for sale only at restaurants, retailers, and at Foggy Ridge Cider Mill. This crisp cider made from Newtown Pippin apples has beautiful soft tannins and a delicate apple flavor with light pear notes. 

Award-winning medals.

Overlooking the apple orchards ... Buffalo Mountain is in the distance.

Sometimes the best treasures are found in the tucked-away corners of Virginia and beyond. Foggy Ridge is one of those treasures. Years ago I said there had never been a gravel road that I didn't want to explore and find out where it went. Thankfully, SWAC Husband indulges my free spirit and good-naturedly goes along with my curiosity which has resulted in a lifetime of special memories sharing the places we've traveled and the sights we've seen.

This was just one more stop on our September journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway as we continued south to North Carolina....

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
September 27, 2013

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Sigh. I love your travels of those gravel roads and your sharing of the hidden treasures. This former-Fredericksburger is also in love with the Shenandoah Valley, and your posts are just so delightful.

Thank you!