as strong as
harvest and decay
makes me join
the finite pageant,
dance the last dance
faster than any before,
a mad nymph
in the temple
wraps me in
its unyielding arms
kisses me to
copyright Ulrike Gerbig
Cider Making – The forgotten art
With 22 sacks of prime cider apples collected (about a ton) we arrived at Grimsbury Farm, Warmley in great anticipation of a productive days pressing . After a few tweaks to the Press, i.e working out the most efficient way to build the cheese, it was put to work with glorious results. It did take a while, but once the juice started flowing it didn’t stop . It was actually quite emotional watching the juice pouring from the hessian sacks, flowing river – like into our steadily filling containers .
With enthusiastic hearts, great teamwork and (with) the scratter chewing up the apples as fast as you could roll them in, time flew by as we busily worked our way through the sacks of apples. We tried to mix the different types of apples as much as we could, the theory being to ensure each container held an optimum blend, hopefully giving our cider the best chance to be a quality craft product. Martin, our resident scientist kept us informed of the all important Sugar content of our Cider -10.60 according to the hydrometer which is (i.e) very good. We ended up making over fifty gallons of juice.
It was great to see families getting involved, the children washed the apples, fresh apple Juice was handed around and the cider making process was explained to the visitors
As mentioned, it was a very special day for me but it wouldn’t have happened without the help of Peter Davies and The friends of Grimsbury Park Farm who made available their sturdy Press and fantastic facilities. The team does fantastic work for the community. Also, thanks goes to John Morris from South Glos Council who has supported the Orchard group all along the way. Special thanks also to ‘CiderPunk’ Martin, who turned up on the day and give invaluable advice and assistance. The Orchard Group salute you all.
Over the years I’ve wandered around many of the south west’s orchards/cider farms and have been swept away and enthused by the dedication of the traditional cider makers that I’ve encounted . The artisans inspired me to first, photograph them, second, talk to them and third (and with great resolve) to taste their cider. It was these experiences that inspired me to try and recreate that process in my county and over the past couple of weeks I believe we have gone a long way to achieving that.