Moe: Acclaimed cider makers to debut apple brandy
DOUG MOE | email@example.com |
years ago, Jim and Barb Lindemann decided to try to go into the brandy
business. They thought it might allow them to stay in the cider
This is, after
The Lindemanns are
well-traveled retired educators who own a lovely small farm and orchard
on the southwest corner of McFarland. It overlooks Lake Waubesa. The
Capitol Dome is visible in the distance.
They call their
operation Gardens of Goodness and produce an acclaimed cider made from
the organic antique apples that grow on the 200 trees in their orchard.
The trees came from more than a dozen states.
have a commitment to sustainable agriculture and social justice that is
leavened with humor. It shows up in a discussion of their travels.
Of their time in
Texas, Barb said, "We went to the rodeo and cheered for the bulls."
In China, Jim
learned the language, and recalled, "I had a friend who said my Chinese
was just good enough to get me into trouble, but not good enough to get
They landed in
Dane County two decades ago because they wanted good schools for their
three kids, all of whom graduated from McFarland High School. Both Jim
and Barb are from the area originally — Jim grew up on Madison's East
Side, and Barb in Sun Prairie.
They'd had some
apples trees at one of their earlier stops — a farm in the village of
Campbellsport, in Fond du Lac County — and started planting them at
their McFarland farm a couple of years after arriving.
selected trees that produced apples good for cider, if not eating — too
bitter — and the Lindemanns eventually began pressing their own cider.
There was no
master plan — Jim and Barb admit they're not that organized — but before
long people were telling them how much they liked their cider.
Six years ago, the
Lindemanns began selling it. Today it's available at the Jenifer Street
Market and Willy Street Co-op in
as well as Bill's Food Center in Oregon.
Still, as Jim
notes, "You can't make money selling cider."
About three years
ago, not long after the Yahara Bay Distillers opened in Madison, the
Lindemanns took a tour of the distillery and had a chat with Nick Quint,
At some point in
the discussion, two magic words were uttered: apple brandy.
What is it about
Wisconsin? The spirit is every bit as closely associated with the
state as cheese and brats.
I remember when
Jeff Hagen was writing his book on
Wisconsin burger joints, "Searching for the Holy Grill," he called
me to ask if I knew why we drink so much brandy in
considering including a brandy chapter in his burger book. He had
already named the brandy old-fashioned
state drink in an earlier book — "Fry Me to the Moon," about Wisconsin
fish fries — in which he included a memorable line one might overhear at
a North Woods fish fry: "I think I'll have another brandy while
Doris heats up the car."
I had to tell
Hagen I wasn't sure about the origin of the Wisconsin-brandy connection.
Later, I noted a
Jerry Minnich piece in Isthmus that traced it back to the World's Fair
in Chicago in 1893. Korbel brandy was featured there, and
Wisconsin residents who attended — many of them German — were smitten.
origin, the brandy-Wisconsin connection is as strong as ever. True
brandy comes from grapes, but there are variations that include apples,
and now, three years after their first discussion at
Bay, the Lindemanns have their own apple brandy: Esprit de Pomme, or
spirit of apple.
It is distilled by
Quint and Yahara
from cider delivered by Jim and Barb at Gardens of Goodness.
roll-out is from
8 p.m. Saturday at
Yahara Bay, 3118 Kingsley Way. The public is welcome.
Jim said there
will even be a harp player — something to listen to while you sip your
brandy and Doris heats up the car.
Moe at 608-252-6446
firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and