Sipping Wisdom: Celebrating Elderberry Wise Cider

Elderberry Wise, Urban Orchard’s new cider, celebrates the wisdom of forests!

Join the Dogwood Alliance crew to celebrate the release of Elderberry Wise at Urban Orchard’s downtown location on Tuesday, February 19th.  Meet fellow forest lovers and taste this delicious cider infused with local elderberries.

Forests and Cider
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 5pm – 8pm
Urban Orchard’s South Slope Tasting Room
24 Buxton Avenue, Downtown Asheville, NC

In support of the forests that give us so much, Urban Orchard is donating $1 to Dogwood Alliance for each pint of Elderberry Wise sold until it runs out! Ranked as the #1 place to drink cider in America in 2017 by Food & Wine Magazine, Urban Orchard Cider Company, a family-owned, local business, prides itself on lovingly crafted cider made from locally grown apples (and elderberries!).

Here’s a bit of lore for the nemophilist (one who loves the woods):

Elderberries are the rich purple-black fruit of elder trees (Sambucus nigra). Elder trees themselves are found here in North American and in Europe as well, although they shouldn’t be confused with the American Elder (Sambucus canadensis). Only growing to a height of about 30ft (although legend has it that they used to grow much larger), elder thrives in wild places. It’s said that propagating an elder is as easy as breaking off a twig and putting it in the ground. Sounds like magic to me!

Elder is regarded as a sacred tree to many North American tribal nations as well as to indigenous, nature-based traditions in Europe. While it heals physically (elderberries are known as a powerful immune boosters and help relieve coughs and sore throats), it’s also considered a very powerful spiritual tree, guarding the gates of the Faery Realm, and not to be trifled with (like Dogwood Alliance!).

In fact, the tree is so respected that many Europeans today still doff or touch their caps when passing by an elder, in deference to the “Grandmother” tree. And, if you cut one down, you should ask her permission three times before doing so. Legend has it that bad things could happen otherwise!

So where does its name come from? It is widely held that “Eld” came from “Aeld,” an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning fire. The tree’s association with fire came from the hollowing out of its thinner branches, which were blown through to increase the flames. In Celtic traditions, Elder is also the 15th “few”, or letter, of the Ogham (an old alphabet based on tree-types), called “Ruis,” and it has been thought that each elder tree has a bit of the Queen of the Faeries in it.

From Karen Cater’s “Ogham Sketch Book” available from Hedingham Fair

If all this isn’t enough to convince you that elder trees are magical, read a very old story about the role an elder tree played in creating the Rollright Stones of Oxfordshire.

Want in on the magic? Come enjoy this delicious, magical, and restorative cider infused with local, native elderberries while it lasts! Meet the fine and friendly folks of Dogwood Alliance and Urban Orchard and some of amazing fellow forest and cider lovers. We can’t wait to taste Elderberry Wise ourselves. No doubt we’ll get wiser with each sip!

Join the Forests & Cider Facebook Event

Learn more about the healing abilities of nature, watch our Forest Medicine Stories Happen in Forests video.

And if you want to get really wise, join the national movement to #Stand4Forests.

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