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Gardens Of Goodness
Strategic Planning/Business Development/
Public Relations Consulting

 

Working with Jim and Barb designed, re-designed and directed the planning to roll out the first new Apple Brandy in Wisconsin in years

 Arranged for the Public Relations to aid in the rollout and continue planning to secure a "position" for this unique product in the marketplace

     
 

  Public Relations

 
    

Doug Moe: Acclaimed cider makers to debut apple brandy

DOUG MOE | dmoe@madison.com | 608-252-6446 madison.com

 Three 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 business.

This is, after all, Wisconsin.

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.

The Lindemanns 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 me out."

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.

They purposely 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 Madison, 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, the proprietor.

At some point in the discussion, two magic words were uttered: apple brandy.

What is it about brandy and 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 Wisconsin.

Hagen was considering including a brandy chapter in his burger book. He had already named the brandy old-fashioned Wisconsin's 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 http://www.thedailypage.com/going-out/eats/news/managedit.php?intEatsNewsID=390"> 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. 

Whatever the 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 Yahara Bay, the Lindemanns have their own apple brandy: Esprit de Pomme, or spirit of apple.

It is distilled by Quint and Yahara Bay from cider delivered by Jim and Barb at Gardens of Goodness.

The official roll-out is from 4 to 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.

Contact Doug Moe at 608-252-6446 or dmoe@madison.com. His column appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Link:  http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/doug_moe/article_e16f6a06-fcd8-11df-bbee-001cc4c03286.html