Saturday, 5 November 2011

Autumn on the farm

Well we have now got a couple more ciders available in bottles. Damson and Elderflower and also the long awaited Mahorall Mulled Cider! We are extremely pleased with how our new bottled ciders are being received and it was well worth the rigmarole of sorting out labels, bottles, caps etc. We are particularly pleased to be able to offer our Mulled Cider in a bottle. It is always been very popular when we prepare it at the shows that we do over the winter and once you have had a taste then your hooked. Having a nightmare with trying to suss out building the online shop for the website.. its a lot more difficult trying to build one yourself. I am hoping however to be able to crack it in the next couple of weeks in time for the christmas market. We have started cidermaking for 2011 ! Everyone assumes we should have started ages ago but they fail to realise that the season dictates when we start and more importantly the apples have to be ripe so the natural sugars are at their maximum. The old cidermakers used to say that the tree will tell you when the apples are ready - simply meaning that the apples will drop off. We have had no cold weather yet and little wind to speak of . After slightly rejigging the cidermaking set up in the shed we have made the whole process a bit more easier and more efficient. Now we hope to easily do 1000 litres a day which is ideal for us. We are going to make some apple juice too this year as an experiment but not sure whether we will offer it for sale - we will have to see. The apples are a bit smaller this year and not every orchard has done brilliantly. Market price per ton has increased by about £15 which we have no problem with as it does encourage the growers to continue with what they do. All prices have gone up from glass to plastics so it is no real surprise. Gravity is about 1060. After numerous requests each year from other people wanting us to press their apples I am seriously considering building a portable apple press and a mill on a specially designed trailer. Then people could hire it out over a day or a weekend and get on with making their own. We would supply the cloths and even the odd empty barrel if people wanted to go the whole hog. I have a good mate who is handy with welding and trailer building so it might be a good project to get stuck into perhaps early next year. It should not take too long to get the costs back too. The colours in the Shropshire countryside are once again stunning. I am going to make a special effort this year to capture some of the colours on camera. It was a great shame that we had to cancel our owl halloween evening last month.
As the video clip shows I had prepared the barn for a very special evening but unfortunately the Falconer had a very serious accident involving being hit by a vehicle and run over at a show he was attending. A truly terrible accident and of course we had to cancel it. A very great shame but we will definately put on another show at later date. I am very pleased to say that the Falconer has now made very good progress in getting better.