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The Cider Journey - Creating a new local drink!
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Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
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Location: North Cornwall

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:13 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

 
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CasperF



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

 
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Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
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Location: North Cornwall

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now - the apple trees I grafted in the early spring - all have taken - Can I just plant them out now with some secure stakes and rabbit protection?  They are currently in big black plastic pots, but Im going to have to deal with them sometime.
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CasperF



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could sink them in their pots for the short term, with the protection.
Ideally they would need a good year of growth for the roots to fully develop and then plant them out in very early Spring next year - Late Feb/Early March. That'll give you good time to prepare the site and keep the weeds at bay.
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Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
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Location: North Cornwall

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks.  Will submerge them in the nursery plot.  Ive already got a hazel and a new vine in pots in there.
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CasperF



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank the apple god for the rain - it's been pretty dry recently!

Here's an update of the growing season:

Our first orchard was planted in 2007 and is maturing well. It has been created in a traditional style instead of the intensive rows of trees featured in our new cider orchard. This year has seen the heaviest crop of apples so far which is fantastic considering the poor stone soil it is planted on. In recent years we've increased our beehives which has greatly aided the pollination of the trees and keeps the local farmer happy too with his crops.



This orchard consists of mainly eating apples and some for juicing. Each tree is grown on the larger M25 rootstock which will allow much taller, natural trees which will mature in a more traditional setting. The variety 'Beauty of Bath' originates less than 2 miles away and has been a great success this year with vibrant glowing red fruits


Beauty of Bath - Originates from Batheaston



Bardsey Island - Huge crop - needs supports!


A great variety - 'All Doer' - This blemish free apple is a brilliant duel purpose which is best used as a cooking apple or for cider

The new cider orchard trees are growing fairly well (despite a pesky deer munching a few). The grass seed hasn't faired so well due the incredibly dry weather over the summer - huge cracks appeared throughout the field large enough to slide my hand into. Amazingly the weeds still manage to grow and we've resorted to treating the weeds immediatly around each tree to stop competition for water and nutrients.


Next winter I will be pruning all the trees to obtain the 'pyramid'shape for cider apples. This was over-looked in the eagerness to plant up and as such many of the trees are quite leggy.


I had noticed that the trees had effectively 'shut down' and stopped growing in this dry spell. With no access to water for the orchard at this time we had to fill giant containers (which will one day hold cider!) and load them into a van to take to the site, man handling two buckets of water per tree. Back breaking work - but worth it. At the last inspection every tree had sprung back into life and had put on another 2-3 inches of growth.

I've turned my attention to the next season and the new batch of trees. There's enough space for another 24 trees to be planted in winter 2015 - beyond this I think we could squeeze another 30 in a new row and in the gaps.

We'll be using John Worle this time for the cider apple trees as I've been impressed by the skills of this nurseryman who was once orchard manager for Bulmers cider. He has always been available for advice and is fountain of knowledge when it comes to apples.

The new varieties we've selected are:

Foxwhelp
Harry Masters Jersey
Sweet Alford
Angela

The variety 'Angela' is a fairly new addition to the cider world. A third generation apple bred from research developed at Long Ashton in Bristol. Since 1985 these new varieties have been managed to ensure a reliable, disease free and regular cropping batch all with female names. So far nearly 800,000 new varieties have been planted in trial fields and orchards consisting of 29 new types.

These varieties came from selective breeding of reliable apples such as James Grieve, Worcester Pearmain and Dabinett.


And finally, we have fruit from the trees - well, just the crab apples this year! A variety known as 'Evereste'
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Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
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Location: North Cornwall

PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive just picked some Discovery, and a couple of Cornish varieties for eaters.

We have a fab crop again this year, and Im now weedkilling around the bases to keep them clear.  Saves John going in too close with the strimmer.
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CasperF



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone visited John Worle in Hereford? I'm picking up some new cider trees later on in the year, travelling up from Bath. Is it easy to find?
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CasperF



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have planning permission!!



As I planted trees and dreamed of apples there was a constant thought in the back of my mind...where will I take all these apples when they're ready? We really needed somewhere to gather together the fruit, press the apples and store barrels of lovely cider. Fortunately a space was redundant on a patch of land in our family which would easily accommodate the new home of the cider barn. So, after a few late nights, bottles of cheer, many sketches and diagrams later we forged a plan.

This morning we received the much sought after permission to build the barn. It was a relatively pain-free experience and supported by our local council as an agricultural and rural start-up business. I'm very pleased we have been recognised as an asset to the local community and allowed to begin this cider journey.

Above is the basic layout of timber barn which will house all the cider/juice making equipment as well as beehives and a honey processing area. (The bee colonies are quietly increasing ready to be moved to the new orchard in a years time). The large double doors will be flung open to allow fruit to come and go and there will be ample space for racks of barrels.

At present the design is fairly simple, though I hope to add a small overhang to allow for fruit pressing away from the elements.

So, just as I was hanging up my shovel and saw - looks like another busy winter ahead of us!
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horace



Joined: 22 Jul 2009
Posts: 4214


Location: yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

 
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Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2496


Location: North Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is brilliant news - well done you!

We have expanded what we are doing, but Ive run into a cash flow situation and Im looking to free up some savings to invest in commercial BIB storage.

Since doing the cider thing I have had a new lease of life and am thoroughly enjoying life a lot more.
France is looking a fair way off at this time!
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CasperF



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote




It's very nearly Christmas but you could be fooled into thinking it's still late Autumn as we have one final batch of cider bubbling away. After the bumper crop of apples this year we had a small amount left over which were stored in the shed until a rainy day.
The rain never came, but we still had to deal with these fruits - a variety known as 'All Doer' which is a fantastic apple due to it's duel use as either a cooking type or cider. The cider is particularly good as it holds the right balance of sharpness with a sweet edge. This fruit remained on the tree for a long time and held it's shape well, even in storage - in fact a good month after picking.



This will become a mostly single variety cider with the addition of a handful of Bramley apples chucked in for good measure. We don't have this tree in our large orchard, that holds many west country types (Somerset/Dorset/Glos). Though, if this trial batch turns out well then we will take some grafts next year to create some new stock - I may create a video on doubling or TRIPLING your orchard from taking grafts - it's easy, rewarding and incredibly satisfying. I have grafted nearly 50 trees over the past year from stock that I already owned - which is great if you consider each tree could cost 10 each!!



Other developments - We have been frantically clearing the land which will house our new cider barn. It's perfect at this time of year when the undergrowth has died back allowing us to gain easy access to trees and brambles to cut back. Plenty of bonfires have been started, brews of tea and coffee slurped and badly made sandwiches consumed.



After clearing the land we will be making space for a concrete slab to be installed which will also contain a few service pipes for waste. It's taken a while to decide on a particular style of building and also to keep costs at a minimal - we've had some wild quotes! I think because it's not a standard box shape or equestrian stable which many companies prefer - like an 'off the peg' design.

Our design is 'L' shaped to allow for a deeper cooler area to store the barrels in as the juice clears. This will also allow for extra space to store the equipment. We also own bees, so will be keeping much of this kit along side the cider items too. These frantic bees have pollinated many of the apple trees and without them we wouldn't of had such an excellent crop.



I have been brushing up on some of my cider making skills and have drawn up a method which I will be sharing over the Christmas period. This particular method will be useful to new comers to the craft though will utilise a 'helped' approach by adding champagne yeast to the mix. Personally I prefer the natural cider making technique, with no additions - but it's always good to try two batches of the same juice to see what the outcome could be.
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maine moose



Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 817


Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casper F  I know this sounds like a silly idea but have you looked at getting your barn shipped in from the states there's a lot on the net especially from New England who specialise in these protects. A good starting point would be Yankee magazine seen them advertised in there. Just a thought    
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CasperF



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice Maine Moose - I'l be sure to check that out. We've been going through heaps of suppliers and due to the bespoke nature of the design it's becoming a bit endless!
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CasperF



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone, been away and busy on a few things (what have I missed?)

Back again with some new developments that you may like to follow:

This week saw construction start on the first stages of the footings for the new cider house. The building will contain all the equipment and storage space required for producing the golden juice from our apple orchards in addition to having somewhere to develop new ideas and products.



The structure will be a traditionally built oak framed building nestled within the existing small orchard allowing for easy access and outside work areas to process the apples as they are harvested. Any additional features on the building will be sourced from reclamation yards or second hand depots. We want the building to mellow into the landscape quickly and without any modern 'plastic' features.



It is a huge area to build upon - a lot larger than I thought in the end! But the opportunities it presents are immense - we can now move away from our small kitchen and create larger quantities of juice and cider in a dedicated space with new shiny equipment. Heck, there will even be a long sofa inside ready for a rest after a hard days cider making.

I've been keeping an eye on the orchard and will post an update on the situation there - mostly positive - lots of new fruit to discover!


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