After a hiatus last year, I’m delighted to confirm the return of the Cambridge Apple Day for 2014. Just like Glastonbury, we’re returning better than ever.
We’ve set the date – Sunday 5 October. Usual venue.
Put the date in your diaries and start securing those scrumping privileges for your neighbours’ trees. It looks like a bumper year for apples in Cambridge, but fruit is ripening pretty early after all of that sun. It’s never too soon to start thinking about storage.
A small group volunteers got together on Saturday to bottle the fermented juice we had left over and, although we were generally very abstemious, we did sample a little of the cider and it was fantastic.
One of the challenges this year is what to do about our scratter. Regulars will know that a few years ago I adapted a wood chipper and it’s served us very well so far.
The emerging consensus is that we need to move to the next level in safety and capacity, buying our very own “purpose-built” fruit mill so that we can continue to provide delicious juice and cider for our neighbours, friends and family. More news to follow on that project.
We’ll also try to use the blog to document the cider making process a bit more thoroughly this year. It’s been great to get lots of feedback and ideas from fellow cider-makers and people who’ve been inspired by what we do to give it a go for the first time.
Apologies again to the many people who’ve asked, but the Cambridge Apple Day is still an invite only affair. We might open it up to the public one day soon, but for now it’s only for neighbours, friends and family. Drop me (Phil) an email if you want an invite.
Just look at that pile of apples! It’s been a brilliant effort by all of our volunteers over the past few days and, in spite of the terrible apple harvest, we’ve got a great haul already and we know that there’s more coming tomorrow. Looks like a full day pressing ahead.
We’ve been busy cleaning and setting up the kit today and it’s all looking good. We’ve just sampled the barrel of cider and it’s a corker. Jane’s got the hog roast in and the apple sauce and stuffing is already made. We’re good to go.
If you’re planning on coming, check out Jane’s blog post below for tips. In brief: bring apples. bring clean containers for juice, bring food (and bring raincoats).
Do yourself a favour and leave the car at home though. You don’t want to miss this cider!
So Flamsteed Road’s 4th Apple Day is almost upon us. The apple pile is starting to look more respectable. Looks like the weather is going to hold up too – forcast is 10C and sunny. Perfect apple day weather.
So the format will be much like past years: we’ll start at about 10am, aiming for the first pressing at around 11am. Lunch will be served at around 1pm. We’ll carry on until the apples run out, usually around 5pm. As usual, a few last-minute tips:
1. Apples - there’s no such thing as too many apples so don’t give up on any last-minute scrumping!
2. Containers for juice – make sure you bring along a couple of clean bottles to take home some juice, e.g. old milk containers. Give them a good clean in hot soapy water amd a rinse. The juice will last about 4 days in the fridge after which it will start fermenting. It can be frozen and enjoyed later.
3. If you want to make some cider, you can - it’s easier than you think. We’ve got some spare kit here we can lend you if you want to give it a go. Explosive events are rare. Honest.
4. If you can, bring some food - I will be making the traditional hog roast (a special thanks to Balzano’s Delicatessen for donating the bread rolls again), but if you can bring some kid-friendly snacks or cake along it would help a lot. Extra points awarded for dishes involving apples.
This mysterious box of apples appeared this evening. Could it be the work of the Cambridge 28th Scouts? Whoever is responsible, we thank you.
Progress is unusually slow on filling the tump this year. Such a bad harvest. There’s loads of unloved apples out there, so let’s give it one final push before the big day.
The tump is starting to look more respectable now – not least thanks to a sterling scrumping effort (again) from Phil McBrien on Sunday and a brilliant haul from the Sutton clan. This is a picture of the wonderful Bethan who is very pleased with the sudden arrival of a tonne of apples in the garden.
Sunday isn’t very far away, but there’s plenty of time for a last minute scrump. We need some more varieties if we’re going to create cider as delicious as last year’s batch (which is being heralded as a classic). Remember, we can take eaters, cider apples, cookers and crabs. It’s all about the mix.
If you haven’t already, then let us know if you’re coming. Jane will be making the legendary hog roast and we need to get an idea of how many to cater for. Please bring a dish to share if you can. We’ll have the usual competition for the best and most inventive apple related dish.
BBC Weather forecast is predicting rain on Saturday, but dry on Sunday. Sorry to say that no sign of a re-run of last year’s heatwave though. Whatever the weather, we’ll have lots of apple juice, cider and great company to enjoy.
A great day scrumping today. After a false start with one heavily laden tree that we were denied access to, our friends at the Newnham Model Railway came up trumps again. We managed to fill about five sacks from their beautiful trees and left a goodly quantity of cider behind for the guys to enjoy.
We’re also hoping that our friends at Cambridge 28th Scouts will be gathering some apples for us this week. Obviously, the scouts will be paid in juice not cider! This could be an exciting new partnership between Cambridge Apple Day and the scouts. Other troops take note.
We’re still in need though. It’s been such a tough year for apples that many of our best regular scrumps are completely bare. With only a week to go, it’s looking a bit worrying and we need every lead that we can get.
We’re not short of volunteers up for a bit of scrumping, so please let us know of any trees with fruit that is likely to be going to waste. We can turn them into apple juice and delicious cider.
More details of the Apple Day itself on the blog over the next few days. Don’t forget to let us know if you’re planning on coming along.