|Some cider fans|
long time since my last blog-session. An almost total cider-news blackout at a time when cider is 'all' the news. Unforgivable! Inexcusable!
Actually, I do have an excuse, quite a good one actually. It's the weather you see. The terrible, unpredictable, thoroughly, predictably rubbish English weather. And the insects, those pesky insects. And the whole upsy-downsy nature of a seasonal pastime like cidermaking. Cidermaking you see is a game of good, bad, and indifferent vintages, and the fact is, the 2012/13 season was little short of a disaster for us and many small-scale cidermakers like us. Cold weather led to sleepy insects. Dozy bees gave poor pollination. Blossom withered, fruit didn't set, and we finished with a cider apple and perry pear crop as poor as we've ever experienced. This resulted in very little cider being made for the 2013 season, and barely enough perry to service our own gluttonous needs. Put simply, without the bubbling wellspring of cidery inspiration, without our fruity muse, what in all honesty was there to write about? What indeed...
Well, I suppose I could have cobbled a few lines together. A bottle bought here, a festival visited there, a recipe, a pub, a year of orchard work and cider news... Hmm! Now I mention it!
Maybe I was just burnt-out. Maybe I needed a year off from the constant grind of apple & pear, cider & perry, piffle & pun. Maybe I was just bored of the whole ubiquity of cider in 2013, where everyone and his dog seemed to jump on the chugging cidery bandwagon. Had the thrill finally fizzled out and gone? Had the rare and exciting treat of making and drinking real cider and perry become simply the latest over-supplied fad.
In truth, it was all these things. A perfect storm of empty fermenting vessels at home, and a market suddenly flooded with cheap pseudo-cider and fruity alcopops masquerading as the real thing. In what was a very busy year in other ways, cider and cidermaking just wasn't the most important thing for us here at Rockingham Forest Cider. Our perspective had been altered, our expectations re-calibrated in a downward direction. But was it enough to make us throw in the towel?
Not bloody likely!
The 2013 Autumn harvest has been widely regarded as one of the best for many years. Quality seems to be good, with crops of cider and perry fruit big and bountiful, if a little later than usual. So the ciderhouse has lain empty for too long. It's time to get back on the cidermaking horse. We're back in the game, and just as enthusiastic about the product as ever. In the spirit of rebirth, it's time to dust off the HTML, polish the spell checker, and re-boot the Rockingham Forest Cider blog. Yay!
.... what do you mean you've never heard of this blog!