Made in Surrey: The Garden Cider Company
- Credit: Archant
5 minutes with Ben and Will Filby, the Chiddingfold brothers who can turn your spare garden fruit into delicious cider
Why did you decide to set up the Garden Cider Company?
We love home cider brewing and after seeing so much garden fruit to go to waste we decided to invite locals to donate their spare apples in return for a share of the cider. Our business now relies on garden fruit donations from over 4,000 households who receive an allocation of free cider based on the weight of their donation. In this way, we are able to take an abundant, largely wasted natural resource and turn it into a sustainable, ethical, quality product.
Where is the cider made?
We are based at Mill House Farm in Chiddingfold, where we produce handcrafted premium ciders made entirely from locally sourced, donated apples.
What dierent varieties of cider do you make?
We have seven different varieties of cider including, Original, Blueberry, Dry Hopped, Elderflower, Plum and Ginger, Raspberry and Rhubarb and Wild Strawberry.
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What would you say is unique about the taste of your cider?
The flavour profile of our range fits with our founding values of local provenance, sustainability and championing produce which is found in an English country garden. We also use sterile filtering rather than pasteurisation, which allows us to
enhance the natural flavours of their cider. In terms of style, our cider is more eastern county style rather than western county style. Our ciders are clean, crisp, fresh and dry to taste – very refreshing.
What do people need to do if they want to donate their apples?
You will need to register and as soon as we open for apples you are free to come down with you apples and pears. All fruit must be in good condition, if you are in any doubt over the condition a good test is whether you would be willing to eat it!
When you arrive the fruit will be weighed and a receipt for the fruit delivered and the potential return in cider the following year will be emailed to you. We assume we can get 50 per cent of the weight of the fruit out as juice, which we can turn into
cider. Therefore, 100kg of apples makes 50 litres of cider. The 50 litres are split between The Garden Cider Company and you.
Where can readers buy your cider?
We have our own online shop at Mill House Farm and our ciders are also available in local village convenience stores, pubs, wholesalers and some Waitrose stores in the south of England.
Fin our more at thegardencidercompany.co.uk