The wildlife potential of our little cider apple orchard needs improving, if only because we're aiming to grow as organically as possible and therefore need all the help we can get from insects, birds and mammals. To this end I'm planning to install a few additional areas of habitat which will hopefully be attractive to all manner of beneficial insects. I've started with a couple of small log piles, located in partial shade to encourage the wood to rot down and provide ideal living accommodation for beetles and other predatory insects. It's going to take a while before these reach their full rotten potential, but it's a good start, and for a pile of wood they look quite attractive really.
We also had a visit from Rothwell cider connoisseur, and Saracens rugby fan (well, nobody's perfect) Rob Boughton, who has a long standing involvement with the Merton Summer Beer Festival. The Oxfordshire village of Merton is a little further afield than we're usually happy to deliver cider to, but Rob talked me round over a pint or two at this year's Delapre Abbey Beer Festival. The absolutely, definitely last barrel of the Welland Valley Special Cider is now on it's way to Merton, so you can choose to track it down there, or at the Criterion Cider & Cheese Festival this coming weekend.
Rockingham Forest Cider continues it's successful Summer residence at our village local, the Red Lion. I doubt whether sales of our cider will be scaring the Bulmers and Magners reps, but someone seems to like it and I'm pleased to say that it's selling well without the aid of ice. The current 'over-ice' trend is a marketing mans dream, but one that sparks terror into the hearts of craft cidermakers. Small-scale craft cidermakers work very hard to produce ciders and perrys bursting with fruity flavours, only for the over-eager use of ice to suppress much of that flavour. We don't recommend the use of ice in our ciders, nor do we recommend the addition of fruit syrups! Unfortunately, we have it on very good authority that our cider has fallen foul of the even more current trend for 'Nordic fruity ciders', with several young ladies asking for a shot of Blackcurrant in their glass of Rockingham Forest Cider.
Hmm! Could there be a market for a Rockingham Forest Blackcurrant Cider I wonder? Perhaps a little too much of a mouthful for me.