A busy winter for Tim

Tim Andrews is always busy.  A dad of two, teacher, GOT committee member and owner of Orchard Revival Cider, it is not hard to fill every spare minute. Below is his summary of orchard activities so far this winter!

Pocketts Orchard, WhitminsterWe have continued to work with Cotswold Canals Connected to look after and restore the traditional orchard at Whitminster next to the canal. A particular highlight was the talk given by Jonathan Briggs, a previous GOT chair, about mistletoe. Nearly all the old trees have their yearly prune and we have cleared quite a bit of excess brambles. We await the results of the DNA testing that took place in the autumn and we hope to do some more grafting at the start of March. There is a lot planned in the summer such as fencing and building a field shelter which should allow us to control the grazing better. Work parties are held on the 2nd Saturday of every month. Please contact Peter Savage peter.savage@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk if you’d like to join us.

Tree plantingWe managed to squeeze in some more tree planting on our own land this winter. Another 24 takes us to 358 trees and 131 varieties all on full standard root stocks. Being well watered in the first year of planting we have only lost 1 tree! However, there was little growth due to the dry summer we had last year and also because I hadn’t mulched enough. There is never enough time to do it all! We have also led the creation of a new community orchard at the Ionian, a wood fired pizza restaurant on the A38 near Berkeley. We donated the trees, led the planting session and the Ionian is providing the land and paying for the guards. The pizza, cake and coffee provided certainly energised the volunteers.

PruningOnly a couple of orchards beyond Pocketts orchard managed to get pruned this year. These were a lovely old cider orchard in Halmore and a small orchard in North Nibley. I would have liked to have done more, but my teaching job gets in the way!

Bird boxesThe best bit about being a teacher is the children. This year a group of students in my year group were really keen to do something to improve the environment at my school Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School. So we held a raffle and have raised enough money to buy the materials for 4 blue tit nesting boxes, 1 kestrel box, 14 swift boxes and a sound system to attract the swifts. The students’ next job is constructing the boxes and erecting them on the school site. I am also working with a bird expert in our village, Peter Kirmond. We are hoping to turn North Nibley into a swift hub by erecting lots of swift nesting boxes. For each bottle or pint of our Save Our Swift cider we donate 20p towards the cause.

GraftingWe are also running a number of grafting workshops thanks to a Farming in Protected Landscapes grant. Martin Hayes and David Lindgren, our joint GOT chairs, will be on hand to help to. We’ll be at North Nibley on 1st March, Avening on 8th March and Hazleton on the 14th March. Email Martin if you are interested in attending martin@glosorchards.org.

Tim Andrews  https://orchardrevival.co.uk/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Traditional Orchard for sale near Hereford

This is, as we understand it, an historic orchard planted in the 1930s for Bulmers.

It is a traditional mixed variety orchard, and a perfect opportunity for an orchard enthusiast/group to restore and conserve

Selling Agent is Sunderlands. Their opening description is below:

Traditional orchard next to Adams Hill, Breinton, Hereford, HR4 7PB.

Summary of features:

– Approx. 2.53 acres (1.024 ha)
– Good roadside access
– Traditional cider orchard
– For sale by Informal Tender

Offers to be received by 17 February 2022

Government Cider Tax Consultation – a risk to Traditional Orchards

This has been a hot topic in the cider and perry community since the budget and has caused understandable anxiety for smaller scale producers.

The issue is whether there will be changes to the existing 70hL (7000l) cider exemption from taxation.  This tax relief has helped conserve orchards, encourage small cider and perry makers (and has saved HMRC a great deal of administration!).

Any changes to that exemption could make small scale production uneconomic – which would have knock-on effects for traditional orchards.

Several GOT committee members who make cider and perry have lobbied their MPs to urge them to keep the system unchanged (ie tax low and paperwork simple).

The Government has issued a consultation paper – with responses required this month (January 2022).

GOT intends lobbying on behalf of cider producers and for the well-being of traditional orchards.

If you are able to write to your MP or complete the consultation, please let us know.

Do note that the consultation, as it stands, advocates no change to the current cut-off and a streamlining of the ‘cliff-edge’ if/when small producers pass the cut-off – see wording from paragraph 4.37 in the consultation (reproduced below).  This is encouraging but isn’t definite, and the proposals are complex, so this shouldn’t put people off writing in to support the status quo and express their views on changes. We need to maximise support for this.

4.37 The Government intends this to build on and not replace the existing exemption for small cidermakers, as the transition at 70hL has been identified as an impediment to growth. Small cidermakers below this level will continue to be exempt from the requirement to register and therefore pay no excise duty. However, once cidermakers exceed this level, the Government proposes to give them a full rebate of the excise duty that would have otherwise been payable, to remove the existing distortionary ‘cliff-edge’. This rebate will only be available to cidermakers who produce less than the maximum threshold for the small producer relief as a whole.

The consultation deadline is 30 January 2022.  Do let us know if you need any advice on what it all means and what should be said!

The consultation webpage, with details of how to respond, is at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-new-alcohol-duty-system-consultation

Direct link to the consultation document is https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1028702/20211026_Alcohol_Duty_Review_Consultation_and_CFE_response.pdf

Thank you!

The Gloucestershire Cider Box for Christmas

If you’re looking for an unusual, tasty (and educational) gift to give this Christmas why not support some of our local orchards and buy the Gloucestershire Cider Box?  This is available from our friends at Bushel & Peck (run by David Lindgren, based in Winchcombe) and Orchard Revival (run by Tim Andrews, based in North Nibley).

About the case:

12 bottles of Gloucestershire cider and perry ciders from 6 Gloucestershire based cider-makers.  All are real, full juice ciders, a showcase of the quality and diversity of cider that’s available Gloucestershire, covering different styles of cider, with different fruit varieties from different locations.

A tutored tasting with The Ciderologist:

The case comes with links to an online tutored tasting with Gabe Cook, the Ciderologist. The case has two bottles of each cider, one you can drink during the tutored tasting and one to enjoy at your leisure, before or after.  The online session will take place on 17th December on Zoom but will be recorded for access afterwards.  So you don’t have to drink all six at once!

The case contains 2 each of:

BUSHEL+PECK: Fresh+Crisp; cider, an Eastern Counties-style cider made from unsprayed eating apples. Simple and refreshing. 2 x 500ml

DUNKERTONS: Breakwell’s Seedling; organic single variety cider. A fragrant and fruity sparkling medium dry cider. 2 x 500ml

JOLTER PRESS: Squeal; rich and flavourful medium sweet cider made from a variety of cider apples from the Forest of Dean. 2 x 500ml

ORCHARD REVIVAL: Festival; a popular blended West Country cider made from cider, dessert and culinary fruit.  Made by a small cider-maker in South Gloucestershire who is dedicated to restoring traditional orchards. 2 x 500ml

SEVERN CIDER: Perry; a delicate and crisp perry, made predominantly from Blakeney Red perry pears from this well-established cider-maker, located close to the River Severn. 2 x 330ml

THE WILD CIDER CO: Tyndale Gold; fruity aromatic cider pressed using a complex blend of cider apples picked from orchards under the watchful gaze of the Tyndale Monument. 2 x 500ml

 

Order from either Bushel & Peck or from Orchard Revival or from Wild Cider. Price per case is £36.50 plus £8.50 shipping (though local delivery may be available free, see links for details)

Or, if you don’t want the full case, why not look at all the other ciders and perrys on offer – there are links to all the 6 cider makers in the listing above and most have online shops.

Wassail, wassail, all over Gloucestershire

It’s wassailing time in many of our local orchards and we have a number of events already on the website.

You can see the full list here:  https://glosorchards.org/home/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-date=2020-01-01&tribe-bar-search=wassail

Do have a look and come along to one – and if your event isn’t listed let us know and we’ll add it!

The image below is the Stroud Wassail Song – which you may hear at some of the events:

Apple Days galore, even in Gloucester City

It’s apple picking time and there are events all over the county to celebrate the harvest and customs of traditional orchards.  Many are billed as ‘Apple Day’ a concept established by the charity Common Ground way back in 1990.  Read more about that on their website at http://www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day/   Many Gloucestershire Apple day events are listed on our website on the Events pages at  https://glosorchards.org/home/events/category/allevents/

One particularly exciting event, in the centre of Gloucester itself, is at the Folk of Gloucester (Formerly the Folk Museum) where Gloucester Civic Trust will be hosting the Annual Apple day on Saturday 19th of October 2019 from 10am to 4pm. It will be a Celebration of Gloucestershire Apples and Cider Making.

Come and see Rosie the Cider horse, who is coming for the first time this year to help turn the apple mill and make Apple Day in Gloucester a success. She is taking over from Fergus who has now retired after five years of service.

“This is one of the last fully operational horse powered apple mills in the West Country” said Alex Bailey, Chairman of the Operations Team at The Folk, “and we are very fortunate that we can still demonstrate how it works”

There will also be a chance to try some rare breed apples provided by Gloucestershire Orchard Trust and they will be there to sell apple juice and ciders and provide advice on looking after your own apple trees.

There will be lots of Children’s activities available and Morris Dancers from Lassington Oak performing and giving Morris Dancing workshops.

We will have live music from a folk band and Bygonz performing at the event too.

For extra refreshment there will be Severn Cider running a bar with some of their favourite craft ciders available to buy.

This is a preview event for the Folk of Gloucester (Formerly Folk Museum) which is opening in Spring 2020 and will be an exhibition and events space housed in a large Tudor building in Lower Westgate, Gloucester. It will tell the story of Gloucester Folk from Tudor Times to the Modern Day.

The Folk will be operating a café during the event offering Teas, Coffees, Ciders and soft drinks.

Full Press Release is available here: https://glosorchards.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Apple-Day-Press-Release-2019.pdf

Cider and Perry Awards at the Royal Three Counties Show in June 2019

Mattias’ display at the Show, with his Awards

Many congratulations to Mattias Pihlwret (manager at National Perry Pear Centre at Hartpury) who won:

  • best dry cider
  • best medium cider
  • was highly commended for perry
  • won the best Gloucestershire producer award and
  • received the overall trophy for best in Show (from international entries, not just from the Three Counties!

Mattias is a GOT committee member – and he obviously knows what he’s doing when it comes to Cider and Perry!