A crispness hangs in the air. Autumnal colors transform the orchard. Tree-ripened apples hang from branches. These changes signal one thing for Martinelli’s—harvest season! From August through October, the region will be bustling with local growers harvesting apples and sending them our way.

The Handpicked Blend of Apples

Part of our Gold Medal process requires the addition of one special, flavorful apple found in the Pajaro Valley, where Watsonville is nestled — the uniquely sweet Newtown Pippin. You’re unlikely to find this apple in grocery stores because it often looks rough, unpolished and even a bit lopsided. But you should never judge a book by its cover. Or, in this case, an apple by its skin. Blending the Pippin with a variety of other locally grown apples creates that perfect, natural Martinelli’s balance of sweetness and tartness.

The Origins of Growing

After moving to California for the Gold Rush in the 1850s, Stefano and Luigi Martinelli began growing apples. In a letter postmarked in 1919, Stefano noted that the apples in Watsonville possessed an unusually sweet, natural flavor. He firmly believed it was this area’s distinct coastal climate that made the apples so special and, consequently, their juice. We still hold this standard today.

The Importance of Local Growers

Many years ago our predecessors stopped growing their own apples, but our reliance on local apples never halted. In fact, when Watsonville farmers struggled to remain in business during the 80s, Martinelli’s stepped in to buy their crops. More than keeping each other in business, their apples were vital to the quality and taste of our sparkling apple ciders and juices.

Supporting our growers has always been of utmost importance and many of those relationships have upheld for generations. One family in particular has delivered apples to us for more than half a century. John Zivanovich explains why he continues the legacy.

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Local orchard in the early days of Martinellis

Celebrations are in Season

While some people think of apple pie when summer gives way to fall, we here at Martinelli’s break out the sparkling cider and juice! Whether it’s sparkling cider around the table with family, warm apple cider cookies and juice for the kids, or cozying up with hot cider warmed with delicious mulling spices, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate fall with Martinelli’s. And you can find them all on our Pinterest page.

If you make a trip to the central coast of California, be sure to stop by the Martinelli’s Company Store and Tasting Room for juice samples, including our warm mulled cider.

In the meantime, we hope you have a cozy, cider-filled season!