Cider harvesting in Herefordshire: ‘the fruit is always in charge’


Sarah Baxter

In the county synonymous with cider apples, volunteers can enjoy a mini-break while helping with the autumn harvest

The first rule of cider-making? The fruit is always in charge. That’s what Susanna Forbes tells me as we look out from her kitchen to windswept trees and moody skies. When apples are ready they must be picked. But are there, I ask – pulling on waterproofs and wellies – any conditions in which you just wouldn’t? “A deluge,” she says, “for reasons of practicality and sanity. Though if it was a really special tree…”

This early October day is merely damp, and there’s certainly not enough of a deluge to defy Mother Nature. Plus I’m not here to chat over coffee, as lovely as that might be (Susanna is warm, expert and engaging). No, I’ve joined the co-founder of craft cider and perry pioneer Little Pomona to lend a hand.

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