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My Blog

Cider not with Rosie

Well, at least now Dougie has been (deservedly) crowned King of the Jungle 2011 I might get around to some admin, including updating this blog a bit more regularly!   My money was on Mark but there wasn't much to choose between them.

Closer to home... in Tank no 1 the cider is a-bubblin away merrily now and the ciderist veterans tell us a slow fermentation is best, so we're not worryingtoomuch that tank number 2 hasn't kicked off yet!  Looking to rack off (spot use of technical term here) in February or March unless the weather turns tropical again.

1,000 litres down, 1,000 to go!

Well, we acquired a second-hand apple press - a twin-bed rack and cloth monster with a mill attached that chews up and splats out up to a whole bulk bin of apples in less than an hour - and, one huge shopping list later (rubber aprons & gloves, flexi tubs, filters, jugs, massive storage tanks, airlocks, bungs .. it goes on ...) we have had a crack at making our own cider, using apples from the national fruit collections.  Two days of slog later, ending each day looking like we'd been barfed on by a party of drunken teenagers, we finally managed to fill one tank to the top and it's now time to let nature take it's course.  Hopefully if the temperature doesn't plummet too deeply too quickly we'll be OK - they say a slow fermentation is best - but if not, cider vinegar anyone??

The sun shines on the righteous ..

Or as Bernie the new marketing & events manager said, it was the luck of the Irish, but however it might have come about we were all basking in the sunshine once again for the cider festival.  Although this year it wasn't really the cider festival as we have come to know it over the last 12 or so years, as Brogdale's events team have decided to go with more of a family feel and abandoned the old barn for a smart marquee in the showfield.  A bit of a sea change for the regulars who have been coming for years - no more Tiddly Pomme 'fruity folk' bar with its 60 ciders and perrys on offer, but instead professional mobile bar operators offered a handful of local ciders alongside the usual beers, wines and Magners (there was even a Magners seating area), although Biddenden Vineyards did have a stall too.

Where did the summer go?

Can't believe it is halfway through September.  It's been months since I posted anything here which is very lax of me.  We had time away due to a family bereavement in early July, then took time out to help out with our 'Grow' RHS show gardens at Hampton Court and Tatton Park, with the Kent Show sandwiched somewhere in between.  Spent August catching up with the paperwork and the housework, and suddenly the autumn is around the corner, and the first of the big Brogdale Festivals is this coming weekend.

Oh dear, what a slacker...

Can't believe how long it is since I updated this site. What a disgrace!  All the people in the know tell you that you must post regularly... blame the VATman (why not?).  We've been busier than last year too :), helped along by the good weather and the copious number of bank holidays.  Lots of coach parties popping in, and the school visits are picking up now too - have to keep the little darlings off the cider, but we do have a selection of quality, pocket-money priced knick-knacks - animal pens & pencils, books, wooden magnifying glasses, clockwork butterflies & caterpillars to mention a few.

What a scorcher!

Phew!  This lovely weather is bringing the visitors in their hordes, but we're not complaining!  We have lots of 'new season' cider in stock (the ones pressed and fermented over the autumn & winter, and are now ready to drink) including old favourites East Stour, Lunatickle, Double Vision and Bushels, and some brand new ones from North Downs (some made using cider apples, so 'West Country' style, though made just down the road).  Plus Tasty Old Wife (as featured on James Martin's 'Great British Food Revival a few weeks ago, which was mostly filmed at Brogdale).

April already???

Oh dear, it is some time since I last updated this blog.  Have been caught up with annual accounts and computer problems, all of which are now sorted. Hurray!
 
Last weekend was our busiest since Christmas, brought on by a combination of gorgeous weather and Mother's Day celebrations.  We've been struggling to keep up with the demand for local ales and Kent wines - everyone seems to be in the middle of bottling and/or labelling as the new season's vintages start to appear. 
 

Here's to the weekend!

 
Lovely day today, and the sunny weather does bring the cider drinkers out!  Here's hoping for another busy weekend...hope you all enjoy whatever you do, especially if you come to Brogdale to do it!

The best job in the world?

 
Standing here at the cash desk (which incidentally is a real work of art - no kidding!!  Created for us by Scott Fletcher of Handspring Design (see it on his website,www.handspring.co.uk) from a sketch by the lovely Martyn, it is crafted from green oak and incorporates reclaimed wine barrels as well as a beautiful aluminium leaf work surface, not only tactile and aesthetically pleasing but very practical to boot ... but I digress..). 
Sorry, start again.

Spring on it's way already???

Wow - what a difference a bit of sunshine makes! Top coats have come off for the first time since October (inc luding in the shop! although we haven't shed all the thermals, hats and scarves just yet ... ).  David at Grow (our own site garden centre/fruit tree nursery) is having to get a wiggle on with the propagation in case the spring arrives early and his 'window' for grafting new fruit trees suddenly closes.  Bulbs are starting to sprout in the courtyard planting boxes, and either fog is rolling in or the windows and glass doors of the shop look like they could do with a good clean!
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