Saturday, 6 February 2010

Marcus & Andy Got Wood (If You Want It)

It's not too late to take advantage of the free wood on offer at this years National Apple Scion Wood Exchange. We went today, and can heartily recommend what's on offer. Midshires Orchard Group founders, and all-round top men, Marcus Roberts and Andy Howard were on hand to offer sound advice, grafting wood from some rare and unusual apple varieties, plus their well-honed grafting skills for those that wanted to take home a new apple tree.

We went on the vague off-chance there might be some interesting cider apple scions available, and came home with over a dozen Gloucestershire cider varieties, including some real rarities. I was happy enough to get some Foxwhelp, a wonderful aromatic addition to any cider blend, but was particularly pleased to be offered a twig of Hagloe Crab, a variety only recently re-discovered, and with a reputation for making excellent cider. Of course, every orchard should have a Hens Turd, whether you make cider or not, so I'm pleased to say we can now add this unusually named variety to our own orchard stock.

These events are often very social occasions, and I was happy to make the acquaintance of Dennis Bancroft, a hobby cidermaker from near Rugby, who I've previously only known through the excellent Cider Workshop discussion forum. It's always nice to put a face to a name. It was also nice to see on display some of the 80-odd late storing apples which Marcus and Andy had acquired this season.

I must also give mention to the terrific George at Tiffield, a welcome refreshment break on the long journey home. A great village local, and highly recommended.

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