Cider: apples, barns, cakes…

Welcome to Cider.Space.  We’re based in the West Country of England but Cider.Space knows no boundaries or borders; it’s wherever cider is grown or enjoyed.

We’re hoping to cover all aspects of cider from orchard to glass. At it’s simplest, cider is  just fermented apple juice but there’s also craft, chemistry and culture in Cider.Space. We take a pretty catholic view on its definition. We include apple juice (or cider as it’s called in North America), cider (or hard cider, as they also call it), cider brandy and variants including cider vinegar. Not just for drinking, either, but as an ingredient in dishes from traditional Devon recipes to inventions of modern Indian cooking. Seriously.

Growing, pressing, drinking, cooking

And while we prefer organic, crafted cider we have room for drinks created on a larger scale, as long as they’re decent. All aspects of cider-making are important to us but  especially support for growing and preserving rare apple varieties and Britain’s beautiful orchards.  We plan to let you know how you can help, including planting your own trees. Of course, we’ll also show you how to turn your apples and your neighbours’ into cider and delicious dishes.

Cider-flavoured events and experiences

We launched in October 2017 during the UK’s Cider Month, when were also be gathering apples and pressing our own cider. We recently launched the first of our events, a full-day course at Exeter Cookery School, and have more planned.

Art, science or olofactory experience, they’re all in Cider.Space and as time goes by you’ll find them on this site. Meantime we’d like to hear from you, especially if you have cider knowledge to share,  a cider-related book or event you’d like the world to know about, apples or equipment you’d like to sell or an orchard you need a hand with. Please contact us using this here form. Continue reading

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Baking with cider

Cider loaf with three flours

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Royal Cornwall Show to host cider competition

The Royal Cornwall Show 2018 will include a cider competition for the first time at the Cornish county fair. The deadline for entry forms is 7 April. The championship celebrates fast-growing interest in cider-making. It also revives an event dating back to 1800 but never before held at the show. Continue reading

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Future plans, increased turnover

Parsley and about thyme for future cash turnover

It might still be winter and Growly Copse might concentrate on herbs, but there’s still a lot of hard slog to prepare for the season.

Squirrel making a decision. Photo by Aidan Sammons

This year, after years of building stock from UK plants, there are plans afoot to begin trading. A certain knack with large crops of coriander (cilantro) makes this cash crop a no-brainer, along with parsley. It’s been talked over here at the nursery time and again about the supply of parsley – it’s either an exorbitant price for a wilting bunch, you can’t get it at all or it’s a hydroponic, tasteless herb for those without a sense of smell.

But those two are only part of the game and currently we have more pressing work.

I’ve been developing beds around the field. It’s a slow process as the soil itself has become claggy with its clay make-up exacerbated into a sludge by endless down-pours and run-off. Years of feeding the soil with good manure, turning it, picking out the stones and spreading cuttings at the beginning of winter has produced huge benefits. The time-consuming stone collecting (done while digging and weeding) efforts, along with the manure, has now produced a beautifully healthy loamy soil.

Diggers and (Somerset) levellers

The stones have gone into small ditches around the beds that drain away excess water and provide useful paths between the beds. Ditches, by the way, all dug by hand.

But this is ongoing and there are more ditches to be dug, more stones shifted and tons more manure spread.

I’m also preparing for the first polytunnel to get its plastic sheeting on and to be populated by the ongoing seed sowing process. Other existing plant stock needs re-potting and it’s all hands to the pumps in the coming weeks.

Winter herbination

But the stock already here needs tender love and care. Unbelievably, the rosemary bushes and thyme – especially the lemon thyme – seemed to have thrived over the winter with little die-back. The orange thyme, spearmint and lemon balm are all due for a vigorous ‘haircut’.

Elsewhere, the fences will get strengthened for a big planting of honey suckle along some of the hedge rows, its more manure on the rhubarb and horseradish and the chives need a damn good weeding.

Back to work!

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Watch out for more cooking with cider courses

Cider.Space and Exeter Cookery School plan more courses on cider-based cooking techniques and dishes following the success of January’s event at the quayside venue. In addition, Cider.Space plans corporate and team-building events for Autumn 2018. Continue reading

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