Cider presses are gearing up for action in a corner of Herefordshire, and Big Apple venues are standing by to welcome visitors to the Marcle Ridge on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October. The apple harvest will be in full swing – no matter which way you turn in Much Marcle, apples are everywhere! Not to mention pears – perry pears of course.
Nine familiar Big Apple venues, including Woodredding, Lyne Down, Pope’s Perry, Hellens, Gregg’s Pit and Awnells Farm, alongside regular attractions at Westons Cider, are waiting to welcome visitors to enjoy the orchards, see, hear and smell cider being made and taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices. And don’t miss apple teas at the Memorial Hall!
This year’s highlights include the ever popular ‘high-altitude’ tutored cider tastings on the Marcle Ridge, giving a hand to press perry pears from the ancient avenue at Hellens Manor, and wheeling along with the Big Apple Bike Ride. The National Fruit Show Education Team make their first visit, tickling taste buds with an apple challenge at Hellens. Practical sessions on tool sharpening, the chance to buy refurbished garden tools and a talk from agronomist Matt Greep on apple pests and diseases are a ‘must’ for those who like to do things for themselves, while Bill Laws will share some of the pomological secrets behind his forthcoming book about the Herefordshire Pomona. Tasty food offers and musical interludes including Uke Can’t Be Serious and Leominster Morris are to be found in and around the orchards. Full details of venues and special events, and advance booking where required, can be found at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime/
The Big Apple is delighted to be working alongside others this year to place apples right at the heart of Herefordshire under the umbrella of Hereford AppleFest.
The buds are starting to burst on the apple trees, last autumn’s cider is getting ready to be tasted, and the time is fast approaching for Blossomtime in and around Putley in Herefordshire where the Big Apple has been welcoming visitors for thirty years. Having cancelled this spring event in 2020 and 2021, the community organisation behind the Big Apple is delighted to be able to invite them back again on Sunday 1 and Monday 2 May. “When we were able to hold our autumn event last October, visitors were enthusiastic about the opportunity to enjoy being out and about in the countryside”, said spokesman Jackie Denman. “Our cider and perry community responded so positively when we managed to arrange a delayed Big Apple Cider and Perry Trials in July 2021. Now we can bring it all together again, with a Grand Cider Tasting at Putley Parish Hall, time spent under the apple trees at Dragon Orchard, and one-off events at Court Farm Aylton and Pixley Festival Church. The full programme is available online at www.bigapple.org.uk. We can’t wait to get back!”
As well as opportunities to taste a whole range of entries to the Cider and Perry Trials, cider and perry on sale will include artisan makers Artistraw Cider and Perry, Bartestree Cider, Gregg’s Pit Cider and Perry, Halfpenny Green Cider Company and Pope’s Perry. Highlights include ‘#RethinkCider’, a talk from Jane Peyton, the UK’s first accredited ‘pommelier’ and founder of the School of Booze, and drop-in printmaking with Laughing Betsy, supported by the Elmley Foundation, using ‘kitchen lithography’ and inspired by objects and images on loan from local families associated with cidermaking and apple growing. Three guided walks each day will tell the stories of the orchards in and around Putley – will it be Norman’s Gap, Dorothy’s Delight or Nigel’s Pride? And, of course, there will be the usual delicious lunches and teas (and this time a brunch) provided by local community groups.
Secretary, Big Apple Association Ltd.
Tel. 01531 670544
The apples are ripening on the trees, the presses are standing by, and the time is fast approaching when the Big Apple has welcomed visitors to the Herefordshire parishes of the Marcle Ridge for thirty years. Having cancelled last year’s event, the community organisation behind the Big Apple has come up with a plan that will see all the usual venues in and around Much Marcle involved over the weekend of 9/10th October. “Within 24 hours of asking them, all nine venues had expressed their enthusiasm to go ahead”, said spokesman Jackie Denman. “When we cancelled last year, we had lots of messages of support telling us that we had made the right decision, but also telling us that we would be much missed. So now we’re busy behind the scenes working on our programme, which will go online on www.bigapple.org.uk on Monday 13th September. We can’t wait to get back!”
This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards, to see, hear and smell cider being made and to taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar for many people. Familiar Big Apple venues will include Gregg’s Pit, Awnells Farm, Woodredding, Lyne Down, Pope’s Perry and Hellens, alongside regular attractions at Westons Cider.
The apples are coming in, the presses are at work, and it’s almost that time when the Big Apple has welcomed visitors to the Herefordshire parishes of the Marcle Ridge for the past thirty years. But, sadly, not in 2020. The event, which was scheduled for 10th and 11th October, has been cancelled. The community organisation behind the Big Apple had come up with a programme and a delivery plan designed to keep the event within COVID-19 secure guidelines, but the latest changes proved a step too far.
“We’ve been outrun by the virus”, said spokesman Jackie Denman.
“We’d like to thank the Public Health team at Herefordshire Council for their advice and support – they really tried to help us make it happen. In the end, the decision to cancel was our own. The timing just wasn’t right.”
Messages of support followed the announcement late last week.
“Everyone agreed that we had made the right decision, but they also took the trouble to tell us that we would be much missed.”
This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards in this special corner of Herefordshire, to see, hear and smell cider being made and to taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar for many people. Apple growers and cider makers depend heavily on events for sales of their produce, and almost all had already been cancelled.
“We tried so hard to keep the Big Apple going, especially because we were almost the only apple event in this part of the country that was still in this year’s calendar. We’ve put a special area on our website at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime2020/, with information about the local producers that would have been there, and some ways to get hold of their produce.”
Many familiar Big Apple venues are there, including Gregg’s Pit, Woodredding, Lyne Down, Pope’s Perry, Westons, Dragon Orchard and Jus Apple Juice.
The Big Apple has started to plan its events for 2021, including Blossomtime on 2nd/3rd May and Harvestime on 9/10th October.
This coming weekend should have been the Big Apple’s thirtieth year of running Blossomtime in Putley, but of course it won’t be happening. This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards full of apple blossom and to taste many different local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar in this corner of Herefordshire. This time of year sees the new product from last year’s harvest becoming ready to drink – and there’s no stopping it! Many craft makers depend on local events and tourism and hospitality businesses to sell their cider, perry and apple juice – and so they are taking a big hit from lockdown. This year’s blossom is the start of next year’s cider – but first there is a need to sell last year’s stock.
For the past thirty years, the Big Apple has been organising community events to support their local orchards and apple, cider and perry producers. Normally, Putley Parish Hall would be heaving with visitors buying cider, perry and apple juice next weekend. The nine producers who had arranged to be there are working hard to find extra ways to make their drinks available within the licensing laws – whether that is through online orders, local deliveries, click and collect, farm shops and village stores. The Big Apple is supporting them through a special information area on their website at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/blossomtime-2020/
Many regular Big Apple venues are to be found there, including Once Upon a Tree, Gregg’s Pit and Woodredding Farm, Pope’s Perry, Yew Tree Farm and Jus Apple Juice. And two special guests who each won awards at last year’s Big Apple Cider and Perry Trials: Bartestree Cider, last year’s Champion Perrymaker, and Halfpenny Green Cider, winner of the bottle fermented/conditioned cider.