Fruity and fun
A true taste of the good life with a cider and apple-pressing day
Behaviourist, broadcaster and author Jez Rose is the enthusiastic force behind The Good Life Project, a new research and training initiative designed to evidence the positive impact of the natural world on health, wellbeing and behaviour. Based at his farm in rural Cambridgeshire, the team there are also running a number of rural skills courses including a fantastic-sounding Cider-and Apple Pressing day in October, so I got in touch to find out more.
“We LOVE fruit and organic healthy eating but it doesn’t have to be as expensive and middle class as some might think,” said Jez. “It’s surprising how many people have a fruit tree in their garden and moan once a year about all of the fallen fruits and what to do with them. For a start, if you’ve got dogs, you need to pick them up before they get to them otherwise they spend all evening letting off wind!
“Our Apple Pressing & Introduction to Cider Making course encourages people to reduce organic waste and to get creative - fruit juice is natural and good for you, but why buy it if you can make it yourself? Picking blackberries, for example, is a great way to spend productive and relaxing time outside. You can do a myriad of things with blackberries including simply mushing them up and using them to fill a sugar-free sponge cake (I love cake). Where most people go wrong is that they don’t prepare or think ahead - this course gets you inspired to do something productive, fun, useful and healthy with those fallen apples.”
The fruity day
The course itself is being run by Paul Courtney. As well as being an award winning cider maker, (Paul and his family now make around 6,500 litres of cider and 10,000 litres of apple juice each year) he also owns Vigo Presses, the UK’s leading fruit equipment supplier, so he certainly knows his apples!
The fruity day starts at 10 am and begins with a stroll through the orchard to learn all about apple varieties and those best for juice and cider, before moving onto a segment looking at the history, process and practicalities around apple pressing and brewing. Then, after a lunch of organic pizza, cooked in the outdoor wood-fired pizza oven, there will be ample opportunity to put the theory into practice and pick, wash, mill and press apples. Paul will explain and demonstrate the process as well as revealing some of his expert secrets along the way.
The workshop is suitable for anyone over the age of 16 that would like to learn this fantastic rural skill. “The truth of the matter is you don’t even need to have your own apple trees or even fruit bushes to make juice because there are lots of other ways you can source fruit, often for free as we explain on the day,” said Jez. “It’s funny how orange juice and oranges have become the go-to fruit for colds and feeling better but, in actual fact, apples get the ‘A’ because they contain more vitamin C!”
Pressing apples is fun and productive
Learn all about apples