Video: Taste ciders at Manoff Market in Solebury
Manoff Market Cidery, an extension of Manoff Market Gardens in Solebury, produces traditional hard ciders from apples grown on site. The cider house is the latest addition to the family orchards.
Michele Haddon, Bucks County Courier Times
Making cider was a natural step for Amy and Gary Manoff.
They had run Manoff Market Gardens since the couple started farming the 35-acre property in Solebury Township in 1984. Back then, it was all brambles and trees.
Fresh out of college and newly married, they used their combined education — Amy with a marketing degree from Penn State University and Gary with his horticulture degree from Delaware Valley College (now Delaware Valley University) — to eagerly put the earth wisely invaded.
“We had no idea what we were getting into or what we could do,” recalls Gary. “But after almost 40 years, we now know what we can do.”
And what they did paid off. Over the years, they have built and maintained an orchard, a family and a common life.
“It’s an adventure,” Amy said. “Gary is a visionary. He imagines things I would never have thought of. I am the practical. We are definitely a good team.
Today, endless rows of fruit crops stretch across the fertile land where the Manoffs grow flowers, peaches, nectarines, blackberries, strawberries, pears, cherries and apples.
Against the backdrop of freshly plowed ground and greenhouses is their Farmer’s Market, a quiet but inviting building of planks and slats where visitors can purchase local farm-to-table produce like apple butter, jams peaches, honey and fresh cut flowers.
At the back of the market is Manoff Market Cidery, the newest venture in the family business.
“It just became the next obvious thing. We do everything in-house. Everything wears out. Hard cider just seemed like the next thing that fit into that,” Amy said.
A cider tour of England organized by the Penn State Extension set Amy and Gary on the path to further exploring the cider-making business and eventually securing a limited cellar license from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in 2018, which which allowed them to start producing and selling hard ciders from the apples grown on their farm.
The cider house’s tasting room faces the farm where the apple trees sway in the wind. On sunny days, visitors can buy a drink, a flight or a bottle and enjoy the outdoor area of the cider house with a view of the orchards.
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Whether someone is exploring ciders for the first time or are a seasoned cider aficionado, staff are on hand to help customers choose from the variety of ciders on offer – ranging from single varietals and blends to ciders. hopped and non-carbonated.
“We have so many different types of trees and so many different types of apples that we’re really able to experience a lot of variety and taste,” said cider house associate Ellie Brehme. “One of the fun things is talking to people about the cider-making process and exposing them to a more traditional style of hard cider.”
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Creating farm-to-bottle ciders is a process that takes time and patience, explained Chelsea Manoff, cider house assistant and daughter of Amy and Gary. From the time the apples are harvested and pressed, fermentation and barrel aging can take up to a year.
Flavor variations come not only from the 50 varieties of apples they grow, but also from changing ingredients and processes – like adding hops, using wild yeast, sweetening with honey or aging in a tequila barrel.
But apples are still the star of the show, so they prefer to keep it simple.
“If you start with something that is a quality product, like a quality fruit, you don’t want to worry too much about it. It’s more about taking care of it throughout the process, that’s the most important part,” Chelsea noted.
Chelsea and her husband, Maher Alazehh, work full time alongside her parents in the orchard and cider house. The expansion into cider making created an agritourism experience that Chelsea said was needed to help maintain the sustainability of their small farming business.
“If you’re not big enough, you can’t do it. (The cider house) was a way to grow our business, so we could keep growing,” she explained.
“Seeing people come and hang out in a casual space and really enjoy the cider and enjoy the company of people, that’s a new thing for us, and I really like that feeling,” Chelsea said.
Manoff Market Cider House, also known as M2 The cider house is open Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For evening hours, come for Locals Night on the first and third Thursdays of each month when they stay open until 8:30 p.m.
Bottle sales are also available in the market from Monday to Saturday and online as well.
“Come to the farm,” encouraged Amy. “It’s about taking a moment, drinking cider, taking a look and appreciating where it all came from. It really is a beautiful thing.
Go: The Manoff Market Cider House is located at 3157 Comfort Road in New Hope; 215-297-8220; manoffmarketgardens.com/cidery
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