ENJOY SOME CIDER TASTING AT CORNWALL'S HAYE FARM CIDER
Haye Farm Cider is a small family-run business which is probably the oldest maker of traditional cider in the world, with cider being produced on the farm since the 13th Century using apples from its own orchard.
Haye Farm Cider remains dedicated to making the very finest and most delicious-tasting cider true to the traditional methods of making cider. This begins with collecting the apples from their orchards. Once the apples have been picked by hand, either as windfalls or from the tree, they are dropped into the mill for a light crushing by a set of Cornish granite rollers. This breaks up the apple and helps the juice run. Once the apples have been milled the resulting pulp is placed into the large wooden press and the “cheese” built. This involves binding barley straw around the edges in rings and on occasion within the cheese itself. The straw acts as a natural filter and keeps the apples in place when being pressed. The cheese usually consists of 7 of these straw rings and typically contains 2.5 tonnes of Haye Farm apples. The cheese is then pressed. The pressure reaches 88 tonnes per square foot and without the straw the apples would simply squash out of the sides! This pressure reduces the cheese to about one-third of its original height.
The cheese is then pressed over a period of about 5 days. After the first pressing, the pressure is taken off and the outermost layers of pulp and straw are cut off with a hay knife and piled on top (a process known as “pairing the cheese”). Pressure is again applied and repeated until juice stops flowing. They normally hope to fill 2 whisky or port barrels per cheese. The remaining dry pulp or pomace is fed to their sheep and cattle, which love the delicious combination of straw and apple.
Once in the oak barrels the apple juice starts to ferment. This is an entirely natural process and nothing are added to start the fermentation. The Apple skins contain natural yeast which turns the apples’ sugars to alcohol. The barrels are watched carefully and kept topped up to the bunghole (with more apple juice - and never water as with some other cider makers). This prevents air, albeit the sweet air of Cornwall, reaching the juice and spoiling the cider.