It would seem as though there is a resurgence in apples, orchards and a wish to be part of a community coming together. And so it was that some 100 people came to the apple -juicing event in St Briavels on the 25th September with bags, trugs, buckets, crates, boxes, and ride on trailers full of apples from local garden trees.
The apples were washed and then the children threw them in the scratter to chip them up small.
The pulp was then put into frames and hessian bags and stacked in the press. Kids enjoyed operating the press to squeeze out the juice into buckets and then big barrels. The crumb or dried remains were gathered as a treat for the pigs, or as mulch for apple trees, thereby recycling the nutrients. Everyone simply loved having a taste of the fresh juice as it came out of the press. It is not something to be missed. Its fair to say that its been a good year.
This now traditional event is in its 9th year. Supported by the Parish Council, I have organised this annual apple day as a way to get the community talking together about such things as harvests, food security, the weather and the need for new orchards for the future. Its important to rural communities to understand our orchard heritage and to look at how it can thrive again into the 21st century.
We juiced 600 litres which Matt Dunwell from Ragman's Lane Farm collected, took away and had pasteurised and bottled.
He returned me the bottles for distribution to those who brought apples. At a cost of £1.50/bottle simply to cover costs, this is good value and most folk welcome the juice for gifts and as a recollection of what harvest time can mean. The community event has grown and grown in popularity and some decisions will be needed to maintain its sustainability, and community sized so as not to have to turn people away. I'm still drinking the harvest of 2019 - what a vintage! (Pre-pandemic!).