And so the apples keep coming. It was a grey and drizzly start to last week, but Neil and helper Sean made excellent progress, pressing around 10 tons of apples in just four days. The new conveyer helped the workload – carrying pomace away straight into the trailer without needing to be shovelled. It’s a real beast, but saves a back-breaking job and keeps the pressing shed floor clear from pomace and grots.
Pomace is used by the local farm for compost, and sometimes pheasant food for the local shoot. Pheasants love pomace – they scratch through it endlessly, trying to find the apple pips to eat. It keeps them busy and stops them from flying off, so our local shoot is always very happy to receive a (tractor) bucketful.
We also like to treat the pigs around this time of year. Our pair of Oxford Sandy & Blacks are almost ready to go off, and they love snaffling apples in the afternoons.
They’ve had a good four months on our land, digging, sleeping and fighting with each other, although they’re getting a bit too old for that now and they mainly concentrate on eating. We’ve never tried this breed before, but they’ve got a great temperament – lively without being aggressive – so if the meat’s good, we’ll have them again.
Apples in action
Juice starts fermenting almost immediately – especially in the warm October weather we’ve experienced so far. The barn where we store the early juice is alive with the sound of gentle bubbling – we seal the IBCs (industrial bulk containers) and insert a simple airlock valve that keeps the air off the juice while letting the CO2 out. Allowing air to get to the juice is a fast way to spoil it, so once the caps are on, the juice is left well alone to bubble away quietly through the winter.
This season so far, we’ve had good yields from the apples – nice juicy fruit from the wet summer! The sugars are lower than last year, again, because of the lower sunshine through the summer. The strength of our ciders are always dictated by the sugars in the apples we press – sugar ferments to alcohol, so lower sugars mean a lower alcohol content in our 2015 harvest cider.
Last year’s apples were smaller with high sugars, so our 2015 cider is strong – for example the Harvest Moon bottles are 7.2%.
We’re booking Christmas shows at the moment and are looking forward to the warm, seasonal scent of mulled cider. Our next event is the Frome Independent on 1 November, where the mulled cider will be flowing. If you’re planning an event or would like to see Worley’s at a Christmas fair near you, please get in touch.
Meanwhile, if you can’t wait for Christmas, you can always stock up on our bottles and draught right now. Everything’s available at our webshop, including our 20-litre Bag in Box still ciders Red Hen, Rocky Road and Harvest Moon.
Facebook Worley’s Cider