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The beginnings of a Cider Empire ?
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Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13500

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 09 6:44 am    Post subject: The beginnings of a Cider Empire ?  Reply with quote    

Or just a jolly good bit of fun ?


I've put all my posts about planting my cider apples into chronological order so that its starting to become a bit of an orchard blog. What do you think ?


I've been wanting to plant a small cider orchard for sometime now, in December 2008 I finally realised my dream. Here's an account of what I did and how I went about it.

Monday 22nd September 2008

After spending a number of years making cider for my own consumption and attending various cider festivals and visiting cider farms, the weekend saw me make my first teetering steps towards my goal of having my own small commercial cider farm.
I've got about an acre and a half to devote to my venture, which I hope, will eventually be home to two or three hundred bush apple trees of various varieties.
I intend planting the first fifty of these this coming winter, but first of all, yesterday was time to get my hands dirty and to start clearing the land for planting. A good start was made with the demolition of two old and rickety chicken pens and with us making some inroads into a swathe of brambles, bracken and long grass. It was only a start of course and I reckon that I've got a few weeks works ahead of me before the land is ready. Here are a few pictures of beginning of my embryo orchard.








I hope that people will find my posts on what will be a long term project of interest. If there are any budding cider makers out there who fancy mucking in, there will be plenty of scope for free working holidays by the sea over the next few years.


Tuesday 23rd September 2008.


Another teetering step forward today. I spent about four hours clearing away the bracken brambles and nettles. Inspite of the leather gloves that I was wearing, my hands and forearms were a right mess by the time that I'd finished.



In a few weeks time, we should be having one heck of a bonfire.


Saturday 27th of September 2008.


I spoke to the nursery at Tenbury yesterday. Matthews, are just about the biggest tree nursery of this kind in the UK. I had a bit of a shock, because when I made enquiries this time last year, they had lots of choice available, and yes, you've guessed it, this year they are all sold out.The man there said that this season there had been a massive demand, where as in previous years, they'd almost had to burn unwanted stock. But hopefully all is not lost . Their trees are sold and ordered well in advance. In the next couple of weeks, they are going to check if all the orders are still required and are going to do what they describe as a field count. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when they get back to me, they'll have what I require.

Come what may, my trees, will be going into the ground this winter, its just that this company is by far the most reasonably priced one that I've found.


Wedneday 15th October 2008.


I've just had the telephone call that I've been waiting for. The nursery have found me the following maiden trees for collection this winter.

25 X Dabinett on 106 stock
20 X Kingston Black on 111 stock
10 X Red Devils on 106 stock
4 X Various standard perry

The last ones are eating apples whilst the others are cider apples. They are bush root stock. All I've got to do now, is to find an expert or two to tell me if these varieties of trees are going to be suitable for my requirements.


Thursday 18th December 2008.

My cider orchard comes on Saturday. Not quite in kit form.

On Saturday morning, I'll be down in Tenbury picking up 59 assorted apple and pear trees ready to plant as part of a new cider orchard. The trees are what are known as maiden whips, so they wont be very big. I'm hoping that they will fit in the back of the car.
Rob and I have just come in for a cuppa after placing the stakes out so that we know where we are going to plant them. Thankfully we just about have enough room to fit them in.

The rootstock will be a mixture of 106 and 111s. We have left quite a gap between rows and have been advised to place a tree every ten feet in the row.
I'll be calling in favours on Sunday to try and get them safely planted and staked.


Saturday 20th December 2008


Kaz and I turned up at Matthews Nursery, Tenbury Wells just after 9.00 am. What a place, they must have millions of trees.











And here they are safely back at home in the barn ready for planting tomorrow.





The trees look very good and are excellent value.


Sunday 21st of December 2008


The trees go in.

A giant thank you to my mates Blind Pugh, Hawkeye, Mrs Hawkeye and the kids. ( Not their real names) It really was a case of many hands making light work. Well fairly light work anyway. We planted 57 trees today.


Blind Pugh and Hawkeye.




Mrs Hawkeye



Even the kids got stuck in.





Talking of getting stuck in, it was soon time for a teabreak.





The table was my Mark 7 chicken pen. Commissions taken.


After several hours digging,we all had that warm glow of a job having been well done. I was really pleased with the results. I can almost see and taste that first pint of cider.
I've just realised that the warm glow that I'm feeling, is coming from blistered hands and a knackered back.

I hope I havent bored you all too much. Now all I've got to do, is to read a book on pruning and try and keep the rabbits off my new babies for the next four or five years.



Monday 16th of February 2009.


I ordered my cider mill and press from Vigo today. Of course, it will be some years before I get any apples from my new trees, but I have some older apple trees and always have lots of apples offered to me by friends and neighbours.

Friday February 20th 2009.


My cider press and mill are due to arrive on the morning of Wednesday 25th of February.


February 25th 2009

My cider making equipment arrives.








Heres the equipment after its been unpacked and put in one of the stables.



The apple mill, this turns the apples into a mush.





The press.





This pasteuriser will enable me to make apple juice as well as cider.





Hopefully , a good summer will lead to an interesting autumn.


Thursday 4th of June 2009.
-------------------------------


I've taken the very first teetering step today towards turning my hobby into a small business. I've phoned up the licensing people in town and enquired about how to obtain a Farmhouse Cider Licence
I think I've almost convinced them that I don't want to turn my house into an off licence and that what I'm talking about is something very different.
To be fair to them, this will be something that here in the temperence belt of North Wales they will have never come across. What is almost common place in Hereford or Somerset, is a real rarity here.
They are looking into it and will get back to me.
I've also been in touch with an organisation called CALU. centre for alternative land usage , who will hopefully prove to be very helpful.
Please keep your fingers crossed and your glasses charged that i don't fall at the first hurdle of realising my dream.

The licensing chap has gotten back to me , he's very enthusiastic. He's been in touch with Somerset and says that when the time comes, he'll help me fill the forms in. There has to be 8 copies to send to different agencies. This includes the police, fire service and environmental health etc. He's advised me that my next port of call should be planning. They are all out of the office today manning the polling booths.
I know that I have lots of setbacks ahead of me on my journey but I feel quite upbeat today.

I've also had some really good advice from gil


Friday 12th June 2009
----------------------------

I've been in touch with my local planning officer again today, I'd left them to stew for a week since first contacting them. I think I've had a bit of a result. This is what they came up with. As long as my enterprise is small scale and all the apples that I press are grown on the farm, then at the moment they say i don't need planning permission to sell cider from the gate. Seems a bit strange that one to me, if I was to stick to the letter of what they say then my next door neighbours orchard would be denied to me.


Friday 7th August 2009
-------------------------------


Two bits of news today.

I've made contact with a bee man who seems very keen on keeping his bees in our orchards. He's coming this evening to see if our site is suitable. Hopefully the arrangement can be of benefit to both parties.

I've also had a phone call from Matthews Nursery regarding which trees I'm having off them this coming winter. This time, I'm selecting eating apples with a view to both selling the apples and turning them into juice.

They are suggesting that I have the following varieties.

Discovery
Katie
Red Windsor
Red Falstaff
Fiesta
Ash Meade Kernel.

I've provisionally booked ten of each on 106 or 111 stock.

Last edited by Bodger on Fri Aug 07, 09 12:30 pm; edited 3 times in total

Went



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 6968

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 09 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Looks great Bodger and good luck with your venture - there is a big cider 'industry' here in Asturias and loads of local knowledge - we help one of our neighbours each year producing 2-3000 bottles. Great fun and great cider - although very different from traditional British cider.

Look forward to hearing how you get on.

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6495
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 09 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Wont the apple trees needto be for a few years before you get to actually use the shredder, press & pasturizer?

Apart from this one observation, Im as jealous as hell.

Has Matthews got a website?

Silas



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 6848
Location: Staffordshire
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 09 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You can put me down for a gallon of the first batch!

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6495
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 09 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I love the idea of cider, but dont like the smell....apple juice Im very fond of though.
OH got pissed as a fart last night on cider (first time in 6 years Ive seen him drunk), and the effect it has on him is non-stop irrational laughter..........VERY annoying! harmless....but VERY annoying.

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 09 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Looks like its all coming along nicely Are you going to wait until your own orchard is priducing before you start getting all the licences for selling the final product? Will be very interested in hearing how smoothly that part of the process goes

gil
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 18378

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 09 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Excellent to see concrete progress towards your long-planned project, Bodger Good on yer - hope it goes grandly, and your trees settle in and grow well.

peter from cyprus



Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 09 4:52 pm    Post subject: cider empire Reply with quote    

good luck to you bodger

out here in cyprus I am brewing stout ,bitter and cider from the wart cans AND i cannot make enough but the cost of importing the stuff makes a bit exspencive but cider is the most popular to the ex pats. follow your dream do it today not tomorrow

12Bore



Joined: 15 Jun 2008
Posts: 9088
Location: Paddling in the Mersey
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 09 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Congratulations Bodger, I am extremely jealous!

gz



Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 6440
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 09 7:43 pm    Post subject: cider Reply with quote    

congrats on the good start
Gwynt y Ddraig have an open day/s this weekend on their farm, check it out on www.gwyntcider.com

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13500

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 09 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I've taken the very first teetering step today towards turning my hobby into a small business. I've phoned up the licensing people in town and enquired about how to obtain a Farmhouse Cider Licence
I think I've almost convinced them that I don't want to turn my house into an off licence and that what I'm talking about is something very different.
To be fair to them, this will be something that here in the temperence belt of North Wales they will have never come across. What is almost common place in Hereford or Somerset, is a real rarity here.
They are looking into it and will get back to me.
I've also been in touch with an organisation called CALU. centre for alternative land usage , who will hopefully prove to be very helpful.
Please keep your fingers crossed and your glasses charged that i don't fall at the first hurdle of realising my dream.

The licensing chap has gotten back to me , he's very enthusiastic. He's been in touch with Somerset and says that when the time comes, he'll help me fill the forms in. There has to be 8 copies to send to different agencies. This includes the police, fire service and environmental health etc. He's advised me that my next port of call should be planning. They are all out of the office today manning the polling booths.
I know that I have lots of setbacks ahead of me on my journey but I feel quite upbeat today.

I've also had some really good advice from gil

woodsprite



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 2943
Location: North Herefordshire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 09 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

How exciting! What a wonderful thing to do. I'll be watching your progress and cheering you on from the sidelines.
Hubby and I have always hankered after a hop farm with a micro brewery and some beehives in the with the hops.
Ah well, we can dream.

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6495
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 09 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Im so glad its all moving in the right direction for you. Its nice when those who are in positions of officialdom finally 'get' what your about! Good stuff.
Are the CALU people only in Wales or is it a countrywide thing?

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13500

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 09 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think its only in Wales Lorraine but they in turn have put me in touch with an organisation called 'Farming Connect' which might be worth you contacting.

12Bore



Joined: 15 Jun 2008
Posts: 9088
Location: Paddling in the Mersey
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 09 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Brilliant! You are living my dream!

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