Throughout October, the whole family, picked & pressed apples from our orchard, a ton at a time and discovered that the cider apples made
delicious apple juice!
Jill (Ma) makes apple chutney, apple marmalade and a range of other things too, all based around the lovely apples. Paul was the brains behind the project
& the cider expert (as well as being the business partner with Ma), Linda makes a mean apple crumble & is a great at the markets. Pa (Richard) does the
accounts, tends the trees & does what Ma tells him!
The children are a delight & help make up the boxes & other little jobs & Great Grandpa helps with the apple picking and friends are roped in too.
We all play our part in the business & go out & about to sell our wares at farmers markets & food fares as well as selling via shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes & tea shops etc.
In the past we used to pick all of the apples in the orchard, transport & sell them to a company in Somerset, to be made into Cider, but when they
importing concentrated apple juice, our contract was cancelled. For about 5 years we let most of the apples rot on the ground, which really was a crime!
Starting last year we sold a few tons of our apples to a reputable cider maker in South Devon & still do.
Paul took the initiative & decided to get another Devon based apple juice maker, to make a few hundred bottles for us, from our lovely mixed cider apples,
and it was DELICIOUS!
We had revived & captivated a luscious taste from the past.
We set about testing the market & we sold out in no time. People, who didn't like apple juice before, suddenly became partial to ours. We had broken the
stereotype of sweet & sticky stuff or sour 'clear white' juice. Everyone loved the natural rustic taste & colour.
The natural tannins, (a powerful anti oxidant) gives it a honey colour.
Investing in our equipment & embarking on our own business means that we will never let our apples rot on the ground again!
We were optimistic when we set out, but could never have forecast the popularity of our products.
Marketing has been made terribly easy, our cider apple products taste so good, they sell themselves! The Hard Sell was never part of our plan anyway.
Our customers like it, then want more, they tell their friends about it, then they want more. People like it so much they ask if they can sell it for us,
and we haven't stopped!
We're all going to be jolly busy working (& pretty worn out!) this autumn, to keep up with demand, but it's all great fun & what a delightful environment
we're in and how lucky we are to be able to captivate the abundance of hedgerow goodies & delicious juicy apples and share them with everyone else.
The Old Cider Orchard was planted by Whiteways around 100 years ago.
They used an interesting & wide variety of apples chosen to make a fine blend of cider.
As the older original trees fall in the orchard, we re-plant with old Devon varieties.
At present there are about 430 trees. The old apple wood is cut up for the wood burner to keep us warm in winter. The pulp left after pressing is piled up
in a huge heap,it smells great & when bagged up makes a delicious treat for our sheep & the local farmers cattle.
The orchard is a haven for wild life, all foraging & feasting on seasonal goodies. Woodpeckers live in the holes in the old trees and the bees from the
bee hives help pollinate the trees to ensure a good crop. We don't spray the trees or use chemicals.
Our sheep roam, eat the grass & have their lambs in the orchard in the Spring.
In Autumn the hedgerows are bursting with wild fruit & berries.
The children will have wonderful lifetime memories of playing, looking after the lambs, and blackberrying, collecting big bowls full of luscious fruit for
Ma to use.
Tucked away in rural Devon, the orchard is far away from pollution & car exhaust fumes.
Nature has provided us with such an abundance of resources, which perhaps we hadn't appreciated before. The orchard has been revitalized.