Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Winter Wassail

With this last post of 2008 I'd like to thank everyone who's followed our modest Rockingham Forest Cider Blog throughout the year, I hope it's been of some interest, I've certainly enjoyed writing it. In particular I'd like to thank all those who helped out with this season's cidermaking, and all the licensees and festival organisers who've helped to keep the cider flowing during difficult times for the licenced trade. If you had a drop of our cider this year, thanks also to you, and do try some more in 2009.

The new year is Wassail time, an ancient folk tradition which marks the start of the agricultural year in much the same way that the Harvest Festival mark it's end. A Wassail is a warm social gathering in the chilly depth of Winter, usually in an orchard, and often accompanied by singing, dancing, and maybe a glass or two of cider. Some Wassails are quite grand, well supported by locals and visitors alike. The Broome Farm Wassail is one such event, and many cider farms have revived the tradition in recent years not only in the traditional cidermaking areas, but even as far north as Louth in Lincolnshire where the Skidbrooke Cyder Co hold a successful Wassail in their own orchard.

Northamptonshire has it's own Wassail, a small and intimate affair organised by South Court Environmental in the old Bramley Apple orchards of Wilsons' Orchard:

Saturday 3rd January 2008 - Wassailing the Apple Trees at Wilsons' Orchard. 4.00-6.00pm

Apple Cause event: Celebrate old Christmas Day by Wassailing the Apple Trees. This old magic makes sure they bear well in 2009. Eat potatoes hot from the bonfire and drink spicy punch. Wrap up against the weather, including suitable footwear. Oh – and bring a torch.

A list of some other Wassail's can be found on the Common Ground website: 2009 Wassails

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