Cider House Gang
Sunday, April 4th, 2010
After several months of quiet fermentation, our cider is finally ready! Last November we gathered thirty-one bags of apples from our Meeting House orchard at Street and took them over to a friend’s farm at Westbury-sub-Mendip for a communal cider day. About thirty people turned up to help with the harvest and at lunch we broke off to sit round a communal table sharing local cheese, bread, apple cake and tea. The apples were washed and carefully fed into a Victorian scratter. The pulp was layered into a huge cheese and the oak press squeezed to extract the rich sweet apple juice. The juice was poured into old Rum barrels and allowed to ferment over the winter. On Good Friday we carefully turned the wooden taps on the three barrels and allowed the cider to flow into beakers. Lots of sampling and quiet nods of approval as we compared tasting notes and worked out the best blend. There is something deeply satisfying about working hard communally, sharing resources and drinking something that is so intimately connected to this land. It is a million miles away from the crude taste of commercial cider and something to treasure. The great writer, James Crowden, captured the magic of West Country cider in his brilliant book – Ciderland.