Category Archives: A Pressing Day

A Pressing Day

The apple juice flows

days as

aromatic as

apples fermenting,

as strong as

sweet new


the autumnal

embrace of

harvest and decay

intoxicates me,

makes me join

the finite pageant,

dance the last dance

faster than any before,

a mad nymph

in the temple

of Bacchus,

before darkness

wraps me in

its unyielding arms

kisses me to

eternal sleep.

september 2005

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 .

washing the cider apples

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

All hands to the press

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.

The happy team after pressing over fifty gallons of cider.

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.

Now the difficult part, how the blooming heck do you brew decent cider ? !