‘Tis the season to be pressing; apples that is. Before we left for Gower I managed to press most of the apples that I’d gathered from our garden and scrumped from various friends and neighbours. These are quite early apples, Early Worcester, Bramley, Tom Putt and a fair few unknowns that all go into the cider. But most apples, especially those used for cider are ready later in the season and the main cider pressing season is only just about to start.
I pressed about 300kg of apples this year – good exercise – but if you only have a sack or so of apples and no mill(to tear up the apples) or press then the good news is that there is still a way for you to make cider. Community Pressings are becoming popular and they are a great recreation of the travelling presses and cider rings which used to operate in communities throughout Southern England where cider making has a history at least as long as that of beer.
The local (Blackdown – that’s the West Sussex Blackdown) National Trust team is holding a Community Pressing at their Swan Barn Farm headquarters behind Haslemere High Street (access from Collards Lane ) this Saturday 1st October 10:30 to 3pm so take along your unwanted sacks of apples and turn them into juice or ferment the juice on into cider!
The press used by the Trust is a vintage Sussex press from Gospel Green, at least 100 years old and superbly restored as is the scratter (or mill) you can see here in the foreground . I can claim to have had a hand in the restoration of the mill as it features two handles turned on my lathe. Photo courtesy of the Speckled Wood blog where you can find more details of the community pressing or contact the Trust at Swan Barn Farm.