Saturday, 10 October 2009

All Things Apple

All things apple were celebrated at The Big Apple. This was a festival put on by the organisations who make a living from apples in a group of villages in Herefordshire. We went on a whim. The day was blessed with some splendid weather and we enjoyed a visit to Westons cider, where we got a good understanding of how cider is made in huge quantities - we got to taste some too! The machines that are specially made to press cider apples were developed from similar machines that press olives for olive oil and represent an investment of half a million pounds. Westons have bought one in each of the last two years, so business cannot be too bad.

Then we mooched off to Gregg's Pit where we tasted some very different cider, had a splendid ploughman's lunch, a sit down, and then a walk in a lovely orchard. Here too apples were being pressed for their juice but in a much more hands-on way with a good old press and lots of sacking.

From there it was back to Hellens Manor for a look at the varieties of apples and pears. Here in one of the barns people from the Marcher Apple Network(MAN) will tell you what sort of apples you have - for a £2 fee - and one can see and taste some of the rarer varieties of apple and pear. The people from MAN are serious apple geeks - they can list varieties of apple that they have rediscovered after it was thought that they were no more, and they have a wanted list of varieties they are still looking for! Scarey stuff.

For the second weekend in a row, I found myself thinking that "This could only happen in England, and the fact that such events and people exist make England such a lovely place".

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