Now Summer is well and truly over, the Fistral Stablehands have finally had some time to head out on some ‘educational’ trips – the first of which was to Haywood Cider Farm, a Cornish cider farm hidden up in the Allen Valley on the north coast of Cornwall.
Cider-maker, Tom Bray’s family has owned the farm for 100 years, although cider has been made on the site for hundreds of years. Tom’s journey into cider started with a weekly cider club he’d hold with some friends where they’d meet up discuss all things cider and, most importantly, drink absolutely loads of the stuff! From these weekly meetings, Tom decided to start making his own cider – starting with propagating his own apple trees, building his own press and bottling his creation on site – though the weekly cider meetings are still a big priority!
Nowadays Tom has 14 acres of orchards growing a range of apple varieties, from Katy to Dabinett. Each varietal ripens at different rates so from September to November Tom hosts apple picking events, inviting people from the local area to come and pick apples in exchange for plenty of cider and a BBQ (a pretty good deal in our opinion!) so every apple that goes into Haywood Cider is actually hand-picked. Our Stablehands even gave Tom a bit of a hand with the apple picking, but I’m pretty sure they were only in it for the cider…
After being picked the apples are pressed and either left to ferment or turned into Tom’s equally delicious but not quite so boozy apple juice. The fermented juice then becomes one of the Haywood range and is either bottled, flagonned or kegged ready for thirsty cider drinkers! Tom makes two sparkling ciders – straight up apple and apple and elderflower – and three still ciders – a dry, medium and sweet. Unsurprisingly, we liked all of them.
The other really great thing about Haywood Cider is that everything happens on site – from growing the apples, pressing, fermenting and bottling – making it a truly Cornish cider!
After all their hard work, the Stablehands were rewarded with plenty of cider, loads of cheese and some great canine company from farm dog, Bonham…
Haywood Cider Farm hosts orchard tours, apple picking days and music events all throughout summer so if you’re in the area be sure to come and check them out!
Haywood Apple & Elderflower Cider will be available for a limited time at the Fistral Stable soon, so head down and grab yourself a taste of Cornish-grown cider before we run out!