Crab Gab: Belly up to the ballpark bar and order a cool Humboldt Cider

CIDER CREW AT THE BALLPARK Kaleb Ashdon, Jamie Ashdon, Leigh Higgins, Tom Hart, Carson Hart. Matt Filar | Union

It used to be “baseball, motherhood and apple pie.” Now it’s “baseball, motherhood and apple cider.”

Humboldt Cider has made it into the Arcata Ball Park.

“We’re fans, so we are really excited,” Tom Hart said.  Hart is one of the partners in the Humboldt Cider Company.

And it’s a celebration when cider gets added to the offerings already served: six kinds of beer and now also wine.

“We’ll have our Drysdale Cider on tap,” Hart said. “It’s one of our best sellers and really appealing. And we’ll be rotating through different ciders in cans and see what the fans like.”

Flavors of hard cider that the company makes include Cherry, Imperial Blurberry, Swipe Right, Passion of the Fruit, and many more.

“Cherry is our best seller,” Hart said. “Lots of times we do an event and if cherry isn’t served, riots ensue.”

Humboldt Cider Company gets most of its apples from Northern California, with the majority coming from Placerville. “In Fall, we buy as many as we can locally,” Hart explained. That would include fruit grown from Ettersburg to Bayside. “We get our McIntosh apples from Applegate, Oregon. It’s the only out of state source, a friend’s organic orchard.”

Humboldt Cider was started in 2014, according to Hart. It moved into Redwood Acres in 2015. “We remodeled the old milking barn,” he said. Since then, a tap room was opened at 517 F St. in Eureka and a new warehouse was added at Redwood Acres in 2019.  Humboldt Cider employs “around 15 people” and their Facebook site has a post that more employees are needed.

Partners Hart, Jamie Ashdon, and Darren and Michelle Cartledge are all Crabs fans and have been going to games for years. “We hosted everybody (in the organization) at Redwood Acres prior to the 2020 season,” Hart said, “only to have the season shut down.”

Hart explained that the company survived the effects of COVID-19 on business by stepping up production of cider in cans. He thanked all the customers who bought cans of cider at Eureka Natural Foods, Wildberries, and Murphy’s stores. “It really saved us,” he said.

Now Humboldt Cider is currently remodeling the old Kneaper Electric building on Hubbard Lane in Eureka into a “massive production facility and taproom.”

“We’re hoping to be in there by Fall,” Hart said.

Besides cider and the Crabs, Hart has another passion--orcharding and apples.

“The National Park Service and California Parks are working to survey old homesteads. The goal is to save rare varieties, including some wiped out by the Carr fire,” he said. “We have a small nursery at Redwood Acres with 160 trees.”

Hart and a consultant who works with the National Parks went around the county identifying old fruit trees and taking material to graft.

“The NPS gave me a small scholarship on how to preserve and maintain old orchards,” he said.

Some of the new stock will be replanted near Whiskeytown, where trees burned.

So watch for Dave Van Patten’s strange and wonderful graphics on those cider cans. The longtime Humboldter now does murals in Long Beach but he will be up north again, doing a mural for the Arts Festival in Eureka. Will it include apples? Wait and see. 

In the meantime, enjoy a cold cider at a Crabs game!

Eureka locations: 517 F St. and 3750 Harris St.


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