Hardangerbonden is once again among the finalists in Det Norske Måltid. The cider named Store Marit (Big Marit) is this year’s finalist. It’s a cider with hops, made with Aroma apples. This is one of the distinctive features of Hardangerbonden’s ciders; they are all made from one apple varieties – to highlight the unique flavor of each variety.
Hardangerbonden (The Hardanger Farmer) is Ingrid. Her family live on the farm Sekse, on the east side of the Sørfjorden, a part of the Hardangerfjorden. Ingrid took over the farm eight years ago, and for the last two years she has been production cider and apple lemonade.
– All the apples are from our own farm.
They started out small in 2020. In 2021, they bottled and sold cider and lemonade for more than two million kroner, without a completed production area. This year, both the roof and walls, tanks and process line are in place. The goal is a tripling of sales.
– We only use apples from our own farm to the cider and lemonade because we want to have full control over the raw materials. This naturally limits the growth targets. Just as fully, the goal is for Drengen, who we call my husband Bård, to work full-time with the production. The dream has been to create something on the farm, to be able to live off the farm without having to work on the side. says Ingrid.
The development within Norwegian cider is great. A considerable amount of the farms surrounding the Hardangerfjord have established a full time in cider production.
The desire to be part of something bigger was important for Hardangerbonden. The community in Hardanger Siderprodusentlag and Siderklynga Hardanger provides access to new knowledge, exchange of experience and brainstorming – and increased attention to Cider from Hardanger.
Clean and clear taste
– We grow the apple varieties Aroma, Summerred, Gravenstein, Idunn, Discovery and Rubenstep. They all have their own characteristics. It is these characteristics that we want to keep in the cider and lemonade, says Ingrid.
Being a finalist in Det Norske Måltid proofs that the pure flavors also appeal to discerning judges’ palates. Last year, the cider Drengen was among the finalists. This year, it is Store Marit.
– The cider category is one of the largest, with many participants. We are impressed that Hardangerbonden, which is a relatively newly established producer, has managed to deliver products in the absolute top tier two years in a row. I would also like to add that the judges were impressed by the quality of all the ciders participating in this year’s competition, says managing director Kristin Austigard in Det Norske Måltid.
Taste is also central to the project Uncorking rural heritage, an EEA project in which, among others, the Hardanger Siderprodusentlag participates. In connection with this project, the sensory panel at Nofima have assessed a selection of ciders, including Bonden produced by Hardangerbonden. Sensory expert Mats Carlehög says that Bonden lives up to what you expect from a classic cider from Hardanger. Fruity, green and notes of minerals. In addition, it is sour and fresh.
Another key part in the project is to establish a cider taste panel in Hardanger. This panel will be tasked with ensuring the quality of all ciders from the “Ciders from Hardanger” brand.
– It is important that all ciders from Hardanger are good. A taste panel that ensures the quality will be a highly valued tool, important for all of us producers. Because many consumers place the cider from Hardanger in one and the same category. If they are disappointed with one of the Hardanger ciders, the probability is greater that they will refrain from choosing another, concludes Ingrid.
International research collaboration
The project Uncorking rural heritage: indigenous production of fermented beverages for local cultural and environmental sustainability is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. The aim of the project is to foster the development of rural areas by improving common research capacity and knowledge dissemination applied to the “terroir” approach for wine and cider production in selected areas of Slovenia, Croatia, North Macedonia and Norway.
The project participants are: Nova Gorica University (UNG), Slovenia, the municipality of Obcina Ajdovscina, the city of Pozega, Polytechnic in Pozega, Tikves Winery, NIBIO Ullensvang, Nofima, Hardangerrådet and Hardanger Siderprodusentlag.