Thursday, 24 October 2013

Harvesting and pressing - part 2, apples delivered, sorted and rinsed

I promised a 'stage 2' in the harvesting and pressing series, and here it is - a set of photos capturing the fruit arriving at the farm, then being rinsed and sorted ready for pressing.

Apples from local growers are delivered into the pit

Apples transferred from the pit onto the hopper...

...then they travel up the hopper into the mill

Sticks and leaves are filtered out

Hand-sorted to remove any stones or rotten fruit

..and a good rinse before heading in to the press.

And in the next post I'll share some photos of the actual pressing.... the press is quite a piece of kit!

Also, good news that we have some blue skies and dry weather today. Much easier for harvesting fruit so should ensure there's plenty to press over the weekend.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Harvest and pressing - part 1, apples & orchards

Cider making season is now well underway. Mike donned his overalls in early October, headed off to the farm up the road where his cider is pressed and stored, and I haven't seen much of him since...

Occasionally he comes home for a bacon sandwich, does a bit of admin and picks up messages from local apple growers ("Do you want 30 tonnes of fruit this afternoon?") but really it's all about the practical stuff at this time of year.
He frowned when  I suggested I trail around after him with a camera (can't imagine why?) but he did agree to take some photos himself, and here are the first few - starting where the process begins, with the apples. These are taken in the orchards next to the farm, and show apples which will be made into this season's Henney's cider.

Dabinett apples

Dabinett apple trees

Michelin apples

Michelin apples - the tractor 'blows' the fruit clear of trees, ready for collection

These photographs were taken last week, when the sun was shining. It's been raining here for about 48 hours which makes harvesting apples tricky - so fruit deliveries have temporarily slowed up and there is a bit of a lull in pressing... time for an extra bacon sandwich!

Next post - apples arriving at the farm and being sorted and washed ready for pressing.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Antique cider making equipment

A couple of times this summer we have visited a local agricultural auction / sale arranged by Pugh's in Ledbury - it's a a great place to pick up bargains, and just interesting to wander around and see the amazing array of 'stuff' on sale. It changes every time obviously, but we've spotted everything from olive trees to office equipment, hosepipes to beer barrels, tractors to vintage caravans.

And last time we went we came across some old cider making equipment - a trough, millstone and an old screw press.

We didn't catch the auction for the press, but watched with interest when stone came up. The bidding went up to £1800 - but failed to meet its reserve (which must have been a blow for the seller, faced with getting it home again!)

The kit used these days isn't quite so pretty but still fascinating stuff, and now the cider pressing season is underway I will get some photos very soon (even if I have to trail the ever-reticent Mike with a hidden camera!)