Monday, 1 November 2010

Things That Go Tump in the Night...

We're sticklers for tradition here at Rockingham Forest Cider, particularly when it comes to work in the orchard. Not for us the rattle and cough of petrol-driven apple harvesting machinery, or new-fangled tractor operated tree shakers. No, it's a good old fashioned panking pole, and hand-raulic picking and bagging-up for us, and don't our aching bodies know it!

John's trusty Series 3 Landrover assists with the removal of fruit from the muddy orchard, but that's about as high-tech as it gets. We'd happily use a Horse for the job if we could persuade one to work for Windfalls & Beer like Paul & Sue do, but they're a bit fussy these 'Orses...

Anyway, we were forced to get really old-fashioned this weekend when someone (who shall for the time being remain nameless, pending her cooking the dinner tonight...) skimped on the carrot sacks when she packed the car, and left us with a bit of a fruity dilemma. An afternoon spent shaking and picking in Worcestershire, apples everywhere, and not a single bag to receive the rosy harvest. We had a choice. Give up the job and retire early to the pub (verrrrry tempting I must say), or resort to the old Ciderland practice of forming an Apple Tump in the orchard, and bag it all up another day.


A Tump it was, and what a beautiful Tump it is if I do say so myself. The bigger pile of rosy apples are Dabinetts, a very high quality bittersweet cider apple which I spent most of the afternoon digging out of the long grass. The yellow apples are sharp, possibly bittersharp, and there to help lower the pH of the Yarlington Mill and Dabinett apples we'll be pressing in a week or two's time. Forming a Tump like this was a traditional way of 'sweating' the apples ahead of their journey to the ciderhouse. A week or two piled up in the orchard like this helped to ensure the apples were fully mature and ready for the press, with perhaps some moisture lost along the way to help ensure higher sugar levels in the juice.

Ours won't be there for long, and we've covered them over to protect from weather, wildlife and inquisitive walkers on the nearby Cotswold Way. We aim to collect them this Friday, and I've already posted a traditional Post-it note on the back door.... 'DON'T FORGET THE CARROT SACKS MISSUS'

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

We're beginning to think you're hinting at something...

Paul & Sue

Rockingham Forest Cider said...

Correct! I feel a Yarlington Mill weekend coming up...

Ray and Gail said...

Like the new look of your blog - very nice! Apple-bobbing background works well :-)

Hope the purist born-again fundametalist cider-makers don't have a go for washing your fruit first... ;-)

Rockingham Forest Cider said...

We only ever wash our apples in top quality Burrow Hill Cider. It's where the bittersweet flavour comes from in our cider, and of course purist cidermakers need to be appeased at all times.

The missus has started a blog: http://www.thegreen-garden.blogspot.com/ Early days, but do pop slong and have a look.