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It‚Äôs been very stormy few days in North Somerset recently. Here is a view of a wonderful old Orchard that is situated just outside of Wedmore, taken just after a storm had past.

Autumn Colour 10th Nov 2018

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Apple Day and Cider Apple Picking

 

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After a very successful Wrington Apple Day last weekend, ( see lovely bottle of juice and beautiful label above ) not to mention great coverage in local paper, and a great pic of Wrington’s finest groovy band Ghost Weed (see below ūüôā )

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The apple day ( 7th Oct) was bathed in a milky warm sunshine which brought out families and made for some perfect apple pressing weather. In contrast, Cider Apple picking day was carried out on the coat tails of Hurricane Cullum, and although the wind had died down a little, the rain did fall, oh boy did it fall. After a recommendation from Brislington’s finest cider maker Martin Camplin, I visited Elm farm in Compton Martin to pick a small amount of Cider apples. There I was greeted warmly by Philippa, who pointed me in the right direction to pick from a variety of cider apple trees including Browns, Dabinett, Michelin, Harry Chisel, Yarlington Mill . During the the morning there were somewhere between 10 to 15 pickers, each dressed like a North Sea Trawler Man to keep the rain at bay, heads down, in the wet grass, tossing apples into a variety of sacks, looking very much like well soaked dogs on a truffle hunt. I was very happy to join them. I’m only attempting to make a small amount of cider but this seemed like a pretty good mix to me, the Browns providing a percentage of Bitter sharps amongst the Bittersweets. ¬†Anyway, 2 hours later, thoroughly soaked through I’d picked 6 healthy sacks of apples and look forward to pressing for cider this weekend, when hopefully the sun will be shining.

 

Note to self though, I forgot to pick the Bittersharp Browns, darn it.

Twisted Oak Brewery

I’m Lucky enough to have a Brewery attached to the office where I work, hence Friday¬†afternoon can be a little hazy !

Below are some photographs that they commissioned me to take for their website and general marketing. It’s always rewarding photographing people who love their jobs and these people love making Real Ale, who wouldn’t !

Twisted Oak  30th April  2018

The Brewery is a small but beautifully formed micro brewery based just outside of Wrington, North Somerset, on the edge of the Mendip Hills. They specialise in brewing quality real ales using traditional brewing techniques. It’s owned and run by Keith and Deb Hayles of Clevedon and Simon Gait from Wrington.

They are proud of their beers which are all brewed using traditional open-topped fermenters, fresh yeast and the best malt and hops available. The smell of the hops when you walk through their doors is wonderful, notes of Toffee, spice, Lemon and Orange fill your nose, the extra hops that are added after boiling adding to the flavour and aroma.

They never use dried yeast from a packet, always use fresh yeast, harvested from the previous brew. Their mantra is… “If you look after the yeast, the yeast looks after your beer. We are custodians of the yeast!”

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They are a brewery on the up having recently scooped Gold and Silver Medals at the SIBA Southwest Beer Awards, indeed they have recently opened a successful Micro Pub in Clevedon.

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Pop in and say hello to Keith, Deb or Simon, they’ll give you a warm welcome when you arrive, at either their Brewery or Micro Pub, and you’ll probably walk away with some very drinkable award winning Real Ale under your arm…

http://www.twistedoakbrewery.co.uk

Twisted Oak Brewery, 4nd May, 2018

Copyright Neil Phillips Photo and Film Ltd

New Cider Barn

New Cider Barn on the Block..

I can highly recommend the Cider Barn at Barley Wood which now opens on Saturday Afternoons¬†till 8pm. It’s based at the rather upmarket Barley Wood Walled Gardens near Wrington,¬†North Somerset ¬†where the critically¬†acclaimed Ethicurerian Restaurant is based.¬†The cider house is set within the beautiful circular building that has a¬†slightly bohemian feel, which fits nicely with the trendy young¬†couple who run the business. You quickly learn that they are¬†passionate about all things apples and and will happily talk to you about their cider, juice and the techniques they use. The Barn¬†houses a couple of wonderfully large old apple presses as well as containers¬†full of well labelled blended cider . Because of the location I was worried¬†that the prices for the cider would be¬†sky-high but the ciders started at ¬£2.50 for a pint¬†of dry or¬†medium. I’m no expert but it was a¬†really¬†present cider, and packs quite a punch at 6.7% . They sell an¬†interesting selection of traditional ciders (see the pics) including Kingston Black, plus if the medium cider is still too strong for your palate you¬†have the option of sweeting it with Elderflower cordial .¬†

 
It’s in a beautiful location which has the lovely walled gardens with views across to the Mendip Hills at the centre of the grounds, the eating¬†apple¬†orchard is to your right as you walk down the slope towards the¬†Barn and the Cider Apple Orchard is hidden at the bottom of the hill, which you are free to walk around with your pint. I live in¬†Wrington, half a mile down the road so as it was a lovely afternoon yesterday we cycled up to the barn, and after a couple of pints we wobbled back !. This was a real treat after strimming back the long grass around 30 fruit/ apple trees over the past week. I’m Planning to go back next week, to try the other ciders and vegetarian Sausage Rolls¬†
 
I just thought I’d feel you in on this place as I know on the cider workshop there are the¬†occasional¬†recommendations for good cider farms etc to visit in Somerset, and this place fits in nicely between the spit and sawdust of Wilkins cider, the craft of Burrow Hill and the amazing selection of the bigger producers. If you do pop in drop me a line as I only live down the road, and will pop up for a pint with you ūüôā
 
I have no commercial attachment to the Cider Barn , which actually makes me feel¬†little sad as they seem to be doing everything right and makes my little Orchard venture look a little uninspiring ūüė¶ No worries though it’s an inspiring place.

Spring Growth

The Discovery’s are popping out on the Avenue des PhillipesIMG_2614

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Springtime in a cider apple Orchard in Somerset

Apple Blossom in Thatchers Cider Orchard in Sandford, 2nd May, 2018

We be a mulching

Last weekend we mulched the around the trees to kill off any grass that might compete for moisture, and we left it looking very tidy (see pic below). But returning a week later some of the grass is already poking through, darn that was quick . We may have to come up with a Plan B. The Field is an organic site so we obviously can’t use any chemical sprays etc to on the grass. Ideally we’d like to stop the grass from growing down the whole of the two aisles so we are currently looking for a solution. Keeping the grass really well mown (a job I did today) helps in the short term.

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Mulched April 2018

That same weekend I paid a visit to Apple Juice maker extraordinaire Keith Goverd. Keith has been making quality English apple Juice for over 40 years and can be found every weekend at Bath Farmers Market. Keith only makes single variety apple juice and and during the late summer and autumn can be found diving around the south west searching out unusual varieties of apples to turn into quality juice. I walked away with a bottle of ‘Adams’s Pearmain’ which was delicious. An old fashioned late dessert apple, fairly dry, with the same nutty quality of a Egremont Russet, and a variety that ¬†Keith isn’t going to let disappear. Go and say hello to Keith and buy some of his quality juice.