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.
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.