Earlier this month we had our second Wassail. This centuries-old cider tradition is such a fun way to welcome friends to the orchard and together celebrate the crop that was last season while humbly asking the trees for another bountiful crop.
A wassail traditionally takes place on January 17th which is symbolically the middle of winter and time to remind the orchard to “wake” for spring. Noisemakers, shouting, sparklers, torches, and of course – cider are all part of the tradition. A few of the customs we incorporate into our wassailing include:
- A walk to the oldest tree in the orchard, where we circle it and pour cider from the last year’s crop around the roots to thank the orchard for the past crop, and remind it what to bring forth the next year.
- Toast is soaked in cider and hung in the tree’s branches. This toast is for the robins who are thought to be the “guardians” of the orchard.
- A wassail song and lots of noisemaking, light, and merriment to ‘wake up the orchard’ for spring.
Our ‘wassail tree’ is the old Cortland which stands in the block of not-quite-so-old Red and Golden Delicious trees that we have grafted over to cider apples. Last year’s wassail around this tree resulted in only one bucket of apples on the entire tree….however the rest of the orchard had a record-breaking crop! We shall see what the upcoming season shall bring – thankyou to all our friends who came out to celebrate with us.