This is the age of industrial denaturation of food.
We wanted to eat clean and healthy. So we moved to rural highlands. To Farm Fort Sudkův Důl near Tábor, Czech Republic. To grow, raise, forage, ferment. To build our pocket of the contemporary pre-industrial. With plenty of healthy, clean, unfuckedwith foods and beverages for our family and friends on their frequent visits.
We planted trees and shrubs, established vegetable beds, raised bees, sheep, geese, ducks, chickens, carp and trout.
We keep two dozen hens. Spacious chicken coop and a huge run. 3000 m². Freedom to scratch, peck and dust bathe. And to hide their eggs :) Plenty of plants, bugs and worms. Suitable parts of our kitchen waste. Enough sunlight and cover. No artificial light during long winter nights. No cutting peckers. A healthy, happy hen life. The most delicious eggs, friends claim.
We raise carp. A pike gang takes care of fish overpopulation. Grass carp deal with aquatic plants overgrowth. Balance established. Neither grains, nor other unnatural nonsense fed. “C'mon, that's not carp!” say those who have only tasted the industrial fatties. Frog gigs as a bonus.
We planted a cider apple orchard. 2 hectares. The orchard floor and soil bustling with life. No spraying, no vole poisons. Just neighbour’s horse manure and our apple pomace compost. Foxes take care of voles.
Years will pass before the first real harvest. Selected rootstocks slowly grow large, vigorous trees, a healthy cider apple orchard - in 50 years hopefully as magnificent as the old orchards that we are privileged to harvest now. Endlessly grateful to all, who planted them heritage apples 60, 70, 80 years ago.
We make cider. The cider actually makes itself. Utopia is born in natural succession of countless indigenous wild yeasts and bacteria. It is them, who, behind cask staves, slowly turn the (apple) juice into (hard) cider. They, who do the magic of creating layers of aromas and tastes. Masters of their art.
We will probably never fully understand all the amazingly complex, interconnected, wonderful workings of nature happening from soil to plate or glass. But we feel that the more we patiently observe, the more sensitively, the more hands-off and in rhythm with the natural course of things we work, the more we respect the nature of hens, carps, apples, yeasts and bacteria, the tastier, more aromatic, more complex, more nutritious and healthier rewards we harvest.
And so, in the age of industrial denaturation of foods and beverages, the foods and beverages emerge here, utopically. As for ciders: spontaneously fermented by wild cultures, aged 12 months sur-lie in 225l neutral oak casks, no added sulphites, no filtration, pasteurisation, fining, force carbonation, no added acids, tannins, enzymes, no dimethyl dicarbonate, potassium metabisulfite, potassium sorbate, anti-foaming agents, artificial colorants and no artificial aromas.
We work with Czech heritage apple varieties from orchards as old as 80 years. We experiment with new varieties and have planted an orchard combining Czech heritage varieties, promising local seedlings and English cider varieties.
We let UTOPIA age 12 months sur lie. Aging on lees enhances UTOPIA’s mouthfeel and aromatics.
Our casks do fine without treatments with sulphites. That’s because we fill them with new season’s juice as early as one day after bottling the cask’s previous vintage. Our casks and most of the cidery equipment get sanitized with steam. Not with chemicals. We purchase clean electricity from renewable resources.
We do not use insensitive pumps to move cider. That’s because we want to bottle UTOPIA sensorially as close as possible to our straight-from-the-cask tasting.
After bottling, UTOPIA further matures in bottles right next to its cradles (225 l neutral French oak casks) at fort Sudkův Důl in Josafat Valley near Tábor, Czech Republic.