Our apples have been loving the sunny weather!
Even though the hot sun may not have been to everyone’s liking, it has definitely been the perfect diet for our cider apples.
With the sun ripening the apples and helping boost the fruit’s natural sugar levels, the recent rain has also been feeding the trees and giving them much needed nourishment. Importantly, the warmth of the sun helps develop the tannins in our bittersweet varieties, giving depth and body to our ciders.
We have apple orchards throughout the West Country, producing apples for our range of Somerset ciders. We’re one of the few cider makers to have a regular orchard planting programme, having planted some 15,000 trees every year for the last decade – more than any other British cider maker.
Richard Johnson, our Head Cider Maker, says, “Whilst us humans have been enjoying a pint of refreshing cider during the heatwave, the apples too have been benefitting from the warmth.”
Thanks to the weather, and the deep, rich West Country soil, the prospects for a healthy harvest for our apple orchards here in the West Country are looking good. Starting this year with a cold snap in later winter/early spring, followed by a mix of sun and rain, it all adds up to the perfect recipe for cider apples.
Richard continues, “Harvest has just started with our early ripening apple varieties, such as Katy. As the season develops, we see different varieties of both dessert and bittersweet apples arrive, depending on their ripening times. One of the important things we look at when we plant new trees is when they fruit, to make sure that the arrival of apples is spread out throughout the season. We press our apples as soon as they arrive at the farm to capture them at their freshest – we don’t want them hanging around and losing flavour.”
With the weather conditions in Somerset providing a perfect climate for apple growing, it’s not surprising that the county is widely regarded as the home of cider making.