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.

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

Juliet’s Orchard Blog November 2023

A new series of posts from GOT trustee Juliet Bailey.

30 November 2023

It’s a frosty day.

I had intended scratting and pressing cider with the varieties Hagloe Crab and Ansell, both picked about 10 days ago, but the hosepipe feeding the waterbath for washing them had been left out all night, and not a dribble was getting through.

So I went down to the orchard to see what was still on the trees.

Plenty of Lemon Roy, though more than half of them were on the floor, but all now safely gathered in. Charles Martell’s Native Apples of Gloucestershire has them down as a culinary variety, but I find them pleasant eating, crisp with a good balance of sweet and acidity, even if not very aromatic.

I got my first decent crop from a young Kernel Underleaf tree. This has to be a cider variety, sweet enough, but with a cardboard texture to the flesh and a thick skin. Still, it ripens late, so could be a good one to have to spread the load of processing through the season. If you were wondering what a “tip-bearer” looks like, this is it. The photo shows fruit dangling at the tip of a long twig which bends under the weight.

Finally, I picked the remaining Elmore Pippins. These ripen in store and will be a good little eater in January.

I hope to get round to picking the Green 2-year Olds this week, then the birds are welcome to the rest.

Juliet Bailey

First Plum Day report from Hartpury

Jim Chapman writes, about the Plum Day held at Hartpury at the end of August:

“We eventually had about 35 plums in the plum display, with others discarded having gone over – I realise now why nobody does one, would have been far better a week earlier. Next year, if I try again, I will let the plums dictate the date and then announce it on facebook, not try to advertise a date ahead ! However we had visitors from Evesham and Pershore saying that even the Pershore Plum Festival didn’t display many.

60 people turned up, so not bad for a first attempt (if I am honest I think many were attracted by the tap bar!). Visitors particularly enjoyed tasting some Victoria alternatives – Jimmy Moore, Cox’s Emperor (Denbigh), and of course, Bristol. Still waiting to verify the Jacob, when it fruits.”

(and, for all those interested in Gloucestershire’s Plum varieties, why not buy a copy of Charles Martell’s 2018 book about them? The paperback edition of Native Plums of Gloucestershire is available to buy on our Bookshop page here)

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Longney Apple Harvest Saturday 21st October

from 10:00

Apples picked in October will contribute to the Trust’s coffers, as the fruit will be sold to Trust Juice … and you’ll also receive some free apple juice in return.

 

If the access track is still navigable in November then there may also be a fruit harvesting day on Saturday 18th November.

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/

Celebrate Apple Day at Horfield Organic Community Orchard – Sunday 16 Oct, 2-4pm

All are welcome to celebrate Apple Day with Horfield Organic Community Orchard
Sunday 16 October, 2 – 4pm

Details at http://www.community-orchard.org.uk/public-events or click here for flyer/poster 

Turning Bristol into an orchard city since 1998

  • Fruit trees for sale*
  • Tasting table – sample local and less common varieties
  • Fresh-pressed juice and home made cake for sale
  • Local produce for sale
  • Pests and problems? Ask the experts!
  • Join the orchard as a Friend and support our work

To find the orchard (nearest postcode BS7 8JP)
Walk down the lane beside 22 Kings Drive (between Bishop Rd & Kellaway Ave), turn left and enter the first gate on the right.
OR
Take the lane beside 134 Longmead Ave until you come to the third gate on the left.
Dogs on leads, please.

Contact: hocohello@gmail.com
phone: 0117 373 1587
http://www.community-orchard.org.uk/public-events

*Pre-ordering recommended to avoid disappointment.
See the HOCO website for more information:
http://www.community-orchard.org.uk

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