Fruity and fun

A true taste of the good life with a cider and ap­ple-press­ing day

Country Smallholding - - On Course -

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

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