This site is a constant work in progress; we’ll never make the perfect cider anymore than this site will be the finished article. It’s more of an ongoing story of our discovery and pleasure in the cycle of life as demonstrated by the humble apple. It’s about celebrating the year’s harvest with a communal bout of milling, pressing and drinking. It’s about doing something natural (as far as possible for ourselves) and appealing to the inner squirrel who likes to stock up a hearty winter larder with good things to eat and drink. It is about learning a real and valuable skill that has a tradeability and useability outside of the virtual, intangibles skills of modern business.
More pragmatically it is about making the optimal use of a group of old apple trees that we found at the bottom of the garden when we bought our house in 2005. You can’t easily store and freeze 12 gallons of apple juice. Apple pie each day for three months get’s very tiresome and our apple varieties are simply not good keepers. My wife likes cider. I tolerate it. But we both like craft skills and the chance to learn something new and different.
The history of cider in the UK
The UK has the highest per capita consumption. Overall, the UK produces 500 million litres (110 million imperial gallons) of cider per year. Our garden produces 0.00001% of this! But it is our bit and we’re proud of it. It is believed that serious cider making came over with the monks that accompanied the norman invaders. Although apple trees were grown under Roman rule documented evidence of cider making appears after the Norman conquest. So Cider has at least a proud and long thousand year heritage in the UK. Where the monasteries were located in good apple growing areas the monks made cider; in 1369, 3 tuns of cider were sold for 55 shillings from production out of Battle Abbey in Sussex.