Rather than let their fruit rot on the ground, local people brought in bags, boxes and buckets bulging with ripe apples last year for Trenchmore Farm to turn into cider.
And the first batch – known as Silly Moo – from last autumn’s harvest was released on the spring equinox, Sunday 20 March. 1,000 bottles were then collected by the Sussex apple tree growers in return for the spare apples they provided last autumn.
Although Bramley was the most common, many fine varieties like Reverend James Grieve and Worcester Permain were fermented and carefully blended before being bottled.
The Silly Moo cider orchard is also planted with over 15 traditional cider varieties from the West Country, where cloudy, dry scrumpy remains popular. By contrast, the Eastern counties historically make lighter cider from dessert and culinary apples.
By blending apples from the orchard with those from local gardens, Silly Moo is a marriage of East and West country styles; plenty of tannic notes, a pronounced fresh apple aroma on the nose, crisp and light with a refreshing sparkle.
Described by Trenchmore’s Andrew Knowles as a ‘civilised farmhouse cider’, he explains, “The first press was really popular, friends wanted to bring us their apples and we thought maybe some others locally would be interested.
We opened the yard on Sundays and the response was amazing – the gardeners of Sussex were delighted to have their glut of apples used. People were so enthusiastic – this is set to become an annual event.”
The cider is called Silly Moo as the cattle at Trenchmore Farm get very excited at pressing time and devour the sweet apple pomace.
The cider is also on sale at pubs and farm shops across Sussex.
Trenchmore Farm, Cowfold