Scratter open day
On Sunday November 18 we are holding an open day to demonstrate our Victorian scratter. Made in 1859 by Knapton of Somerset, it was passed on to us by the family of the late John George, of Much Dewchurch, well-known locally as a vintage machinery enthusiast. He had restored it, attached it to a stationary Ruston and Hornsby petrol engine, and made cider in it for several years.
Thanks to the skill and patience of various friends and enthusiasts the scratter and its engine are now in working order again, and we are able to make cider with it. The apples are first crushed by the stone rollers in the scratter, and then squeezed in the old press as usual. Come along to watch or help. Cider available to taste and buy. Open 10 till 3.
Schools Open Day
This year for the first time we held a special open day for schools, when pupils from three local schools – Peterchurch Primary, Hereford Waldorf, and Clifford Primary – came to watch Tommy making cider. The children were clearly thrilled to meet a working horse – which they'd never seen before – and by the ingenuity of the whole process. They enjoyed tasting juice from the press, and also trying to turn both the mill wheel and the press screw. Their teachers and parents were also very appreciative.
Open Weekend 2018
Our open weekend was a great success. Visitors came from far and wide, and their ages ranged from one to ninety-two. Tommy the Gypsy Cob, now in his second year in the job, performed calmly and willingly, with the support of his owners, Wendy and John Lloyd. We had an enthusiastic team of helpers, including our new cidermaker, Neville Fleet, recently retired from Silicon Valley, and his two sons, Sam and Ben. We made two barrels of Kingston Black single variety cider, and one of Dabinett, using apples from orchards in Vowchurch, Cusop and Lower Maescoed; and many bottles of cider were sold.
A new Fair Oak product: Sparkling Cider in wine-sized bottles
Spring 2018: We are delighted now to be able to offer a sparkling version of Fair Oak cider in 75 cl bottles.
Many of our customers had been requesting a sparkling cider, which is quite tricky to produce on a small scale. So we decided to approach Westons of Much Marcle, a long-established Herefordshire firm, to ask them to bottle a batch for us.
Mark Yemm, contract packaging manager at Westons Cider, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be working with Fair Oak and their traditional cider making methods. Although our founder, Henry Weston, would have been familiar with the use of horse power back in 1880, it’s not something we are used to seeing in our production processes today.’
The new cider is medium-dry, gently sparkling and crystal clear. It is delicious served chilled, as an aperitif or with food. We’re calling it, slightly tongue-in-cheek, Herefordshire’s answer to Prosecco.
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