Apples and Orchards
Cider can be made from any type of apple. In the South East of England, ciders have historically been made with eating apples, as these were grown locally for the London table market.
Traditional, West Country style ciders, however, are made from specific varieties of apple that have been grown for centuries solely for the purpose of making cider.
There are literally hundreds of cider apple varieties with a range of wonderful and evocative names, such as:
There are 4 main classifications of cider apples:
Known as a standard orchard, this traditional style of orchard would have been present on every farm in the West of England to make cider for the family and the labour force.
The canopy was deliberately held high so livestock could be allowed to roam underneath. The apples would have been largely picked by hand.
Known as a bush orchard, the trees are planted closely together on dwarfing rootstocks to produce small trees that form a continuous row.
This orcharding method was devised when cider grew more popular after 1945 when there was a greater demand for cider apples. These orchards are mechanically harvested.