Applefest in Martley

Living in the countryside provides a whole new perspective on life – and with events like today’s Applefest at the Chantry High School, I’m learning a huge amount. It may have been a tough summer for farmers in general – fruit growers included – but this didn’t seem to dampen enthusiasm today.

Plenty of varieties at the Applefest in Martley

I was fascinated by the demonstration of cider-making by Steve from Tomkins Farm. He’s only recently started, diversifying to combat the current plentiful challenges in agriculture. One of his first problems was to source suitable equipment: he eventually found someone who was moving up to a larger scale of production and was therefore selling off his old stuff.

The apples were broken up into small pieces by the blue machine in the photo below, and then transferred to the press. It’s more hygienic these days: muslin is now used instead of horse hair and straw!

Cider making, demonstrated by Steve from Tomkins Farm

The press is then lowered to squeeze the juice out… you know its been lowered enough when it starts to gush…

The apple press in operation

An abundant flow from the apple press

Once the juice has been produced it can either be drunk straightaway, or stored in oak barrels and left to ferment. It takes about a year for drinkable cider to be produced, with extra weeks for a sweeter product.

First thing this morning, I looked out of the window and saw that there was a belt of mist lying just above ground, being evaporated by the rising Sun. I suspect I might have missed the best scene, but what I saw was impressive enough.

Early morning mist in Wichenford

I hadn’t intended to leave posting for as long as I have, but life here has been very busy – in a good way!

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