Normandy Farm Cider
France may be famous for her wines but in Normandy it is cider that takes centre stage. Apples are grown commercially in large orchards but also on a much smaller scale by farmers and pretty much anyone who has a small piece of land and are used for their own home-made cider. Somehow we managed to buy what must have been the only property in Normandy without a cider orchard but all around us are small orchards producing the small tart apples needed to make cider. Our neighbour told us that in years gone by there was a cider orchard here but it was in the field below the play area that we don't own. That would explain when we found a large wooden cider press in the barn. Only part of that now remains, re purposed into a feature bench near the play barn. Elsewhere around the countryside you will see large stone presses, designed to be powered by a horse or donkey but now mostly existing as features in gardens.
These apples are on one of our neighbouring farms and being too many to juice by hand and with no wooden or stone press, they are awaiting the mobile apple press.
All through the autumn and early winter this tractor drawn machine trundles around the local area using it's heavy presses to abstract the apple juice. A few years ago I was lucky enough to be walking past another neighbour when the press was there. It was marvellous too see the apples being chopped to a pulp and then squeezed through heavy hessian presses to abstract as much juice as possible. The smell was wonderful.
Are you a cider drinker? I am but then I suppose that should go without saying being called Rosie! And on an aside when I volunteers for the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust I worked in the area where Laurie Lee was brought up. Beautiful countryside and not unlike the rolling hill of Normandy where I now live.
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