Fermenting nicely, Juliet’s Orchard Blog January 2024 #1

The juice pressed in the autumn and early part of the winter has now all passed its frothing stage and is just bubbling away quietly.

One of life’s little pleasures is to watch the fermentation, the tiny bubbles rising to the neck of the demijohn, or the bubbler airlock filling with gas and pushing a ball of gas up the escape route.

It is good to keep an eye on the process – the level of liquid on the two sides of the bubbler should be different, with the level lower on the jar side than the escape side.

This means that fermentation is occuring as it should and the likely outcome will be cider and not vinegar.

Orchard Tour 26th April 2024

We are arranging a tour of orchards in the northern reaches of Gloucestershire – we’ll cross the border into southern Herefordshire, so you’ll need to have your passport with you and had all the necessary jabs – and have set a date of Friday 26th April.

The date has been chosen in the hope and expectation that many of the fruit trees in the orchards we’ll visit will be in blossom, the likelihood of which is enhanced that the orchards we’ll be visiting contain both perry pear and apple trees … (but the presence or otherwise of blossom is, of course, determined by natural forces, well beyond the control of the Trustees).

Price per person: £20

Details of the itinerary will be confirmed in due course, but the current plan is as follows:

– Meet at Henley Bank, Brockworth, at 10:00.
– Tour of Henley Bank orchards
– Visit two orchards in an around Dymock and Bromesberrow
– Visit orchards in Putley and / or Preston Cross
– Tour of an orchard in Overbury
– Tour of an orchard in Winchcombe
– Return to Henley Bank, Brockworth at 16:00.

We can have a maximum of 15 people. To reserve your place please contact either David Lindgren David.lindgren@glosorchards.org or Martin Hayes martin.hayes@glosorchards.org

Juliet’s Orchard Blog December 2023

13 December 2023

I finished pressing the cider apples and clearing up today. The Ansell and Hagloe Crab, shaken from the tree onto tarpaulins about a month ago, were still in prime condition.

If you are organised enough to collect the fruit before it falls to the ground, it is much easier doing it this way than collecting dropped fruit that needs vigorous cleaning to get the mud off before it can be scratted. However, it is good to wait till at least some ripe fruit has fallen or it won’t be ready.

All my cider and juice is for personal or family consumption. I’ve got a ramshackle cider-making kit, involving an old garden shredder and various fermenting barrels and demi-johns bought from charity shops over the years.

My little fruit press was bought second-hand at auction and is a very good size for making single-variety juices when you only have one tree of any particular sort. I baulk at the cost of commercial strainer bags and have tried net curtains but they rot and tear quickly and the pulp will squirt out of any hole when under pressure. The best solution I’ve found is old linen tea towels. They allow a free flow of liquid and can be washed and sterilised regularly.

Juliet Bailey

Show time! August to September 2023

GOT members will be attending and exhibiting fruit, juice and cider and perry at several shows this season.

There’s the Malvern Autumn Show, 22nd to 24th September where Jim Chapman will again be exhibiting his amazing collection of perry pears. Three Counties Showground, Malvern WR13 6NW.

Jim will also be displaying perry pears at Hartpury on the afternoon of Saturday 16th September. 

And also on Friday 13th October at the Hereford Courtyard Theatre, Edgar St., Hereford HR4 9JR.

Additionally, there may be a display of plums at Hartpury on the afternoon of Sunday 27th August, primarily to show Gloucestershire’s plums varieties. If it happens, this will include the Bristol plum; until recently the only known tree had plum pox, but we now have a clean tree from which to propagate.

Not forgetting…the Frampton Country Fair, Sunday 10th September, one of the last truly country fairs.  Tim Andrews, Trustee, will be there with his Orchard Revival cider and perry. For more information visit the website https://framptoncountryfair.co.uk or call 01452 740152 or email info@framptoncountryfair.co.uk

Identification of fruit varieties 2023

The DNA analysis project run via FruitID is now in its 8th year.  This year the scheme offers DNA analysis at £32.50 plus VAT per sample for Apples, Pears, and Cherries.

If you would like to participate, please go to www.fruitID.com/#help where you can find the Announcement and Timetable, a Request Form to ask for sample bags, detailed collection guidance, results from previous years, and an Introduction to DNA Fingerprinting.

Also at the FruitID website Muriel Smith’s National Apple Register for the UK is now available as a digital download.

To find it, go to www.fruitID.com/#help then click on ‘Pomonas’ from the list on the left and look for the 1971 entry. Thanks to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species for funding the digitisation of this great resource.

BBC feature on local orchards

The BBC news website featured traditional orchards last week, timed to coincide with Apple Day.

It highlighted the work being carried out to conserve orchards, and traditional varieties, locally and regionally in Somerset and Gloucestershire  The article also highlighted the work of PTES and the Orchard Network nationally.

For Gloucestershire both GOT and the Wildlife Trust were mentioned, discussing local sites and the work being done to find and conserve local varieties.

For the full article click here:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-63298873

Pictures from Days Cottage Apple Day

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The perry pear painting on the bench is by Chris Bingle, whose work can be seen at subtlecolours.com

Apple Days are here

Have you been to an Apple Day this season yet?  Many of our local events have happened already (click on our Past events tab to see these), but some are still to come.

National Apple Day was launched in 1990 by Common Ground. Their aspiration was to create a calendar custom, an autumn holiday. From the start, Apple Day was intended to be both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too. It has also played a part in raising awareness in the provenance and traceability of food.

The concept was initially set as 21st October but, in practice, the date is variable depending on which area you’re in and what orchard group is doing what.

It has become incredibly successful over the 30 years since – with events taking place all over the country organised by local orchard and apple groups, across a range of dates throughout October.

For information on Apple Day events around the country visit https://ptes.org/campaigns/traditional-orchard-project/orchard-network/apple-day/

https://www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day/

Preparing for Apple Day at Days Cottage

Helen and Dave at Days Cottage have been busy setting up the displays for their Apple Day next Sunday (16th October, 1-4pm).  Helen has sent these pictures and notes:

This is part of the Gloucestershire collection – there will 90 varieties altogether of which 45 are Gloucestershire ones from the Days Cottage Museum Orchard.

Here are a few of the Gloucestershire varieties, starting with the delightfully named Hen’s Turds, followed by Gloucester Royal and then Ben Lans. Such beautiful fruit this year:

the next picture shows the genetic instability of Siddington Russet…you can see 2 heavily russeted apples and 2 smooth green ones all on the same branch!

And lastly Cambridge Queening…a gorgeous apple from Cambridge, the village south of Gloucester on the A38. It is the best variety for making Tarte Tatin. Helen writes that they had a chef at one of their Apple Days who made lots of Tarte Tatins with different varieties and Cambridge Queening won the taste test hands down! Also known as Cambridge Quoining…thought to be from the angled shape reflecting quoin stones used on the corners of buildings.

Shaking the Severn Bank

Helen from Days Cottage getting a full work out while shaking a Severn Bank apple tree in the Museum Orchard at Day’s Cottage.

She writes that ‘we’ve used the fruit to make a first experimental barrel of 100% Severn Bank as the crop has been so heavy this season. Will let you know how it turns out next year.’

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