This weekend we were recommended to go to the cider festival at the Cider Museum (http://www.cidermuseum.co.uk/) in Hereford.
The museum itself was worth the visit as it took you on a journey of cider making through the years. On display were some of the old cider presses, photo’s of the old building through the years and for the weekend on display in the old board room were some of the many varieties of apples used.
Outside there were various stalls with people selling their wares. These included a few cider makers, a blacksmith, a green wood worker (Bodger), cheese makers as well as a beekeeper. Bee’s play a very important role in the pollenating the many apple orchards all around the county.
Outside we watched Ralph from Ralph’s cider and perry (http://www.ralphsciderfestival.co.uk/) give a demonstration on how he makes cider. First of all he puts the whole apples into a machine that crushes them into a pulp then he wheels them around to begin making what is called a cheese. This is done by laying out a piece of sacking which is covered by some of the crushed apples. The sacking is folded over and another piece of sacking is placed on top and the process begins again.
Once a certain height is gained and the cheese is all level pieces of wood are placed on top ready to begin the squeezing process. This is done by two big cogs that are wound down by handles to begin with and this forces the wood down to squeeze the juice out into a barrel. When the handles are too hard to turn by hand a long round wooden pole is then used and pushed around. Watching Ralph in his demonstration brought it home how hard cider making is (but worth it!). It is amazing how much juice is produced from this amount of apples.
Before watching Ralph give his demonstration I had bought a pint of Gwatkins perry which was very nice and tasty and was 7.5% ABV it was at this point that I decided that Angela would be driving back!
As well as this demonstration there were others including, Blacksmithing and the green wood worker.
Between each of the outside demonstrations a local Morris side (http://www.foxsmorris.org.uk/ danced for the crowd. They were brilliant and very entertaining as well as being frightening in appearance as they were not like the morris sides we are used to back in Oxford.
There faces were blackened and their costumes were made up of red and green strips of material, very menacing.
While we were there we bumped into Dave and Annie, a lovely couple that are currently staying on our campsite. We also met them earlier on this year when they first arrived on our campsite. I have to thank Dave as he took the photo’s above as I did not have my camera with me.
Before we left we treated ourselves to a pork and stuffing roll from the whole pig spit roast we spotted on the way in.