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Apple day

18 November 2021

Apple Day – Celebrating the humble apple

The links with cider making and farming in the West Country, goes back hundreds of years.

Each autumn (in normal times) we hold our village apple day which is a celebration of everything apple-related. Apple day has been going for over 20 years in the village of Hennock.

Orchards are commonplace on most farms in the West Country, as cider making was seen as an essential commodity on any farm in years gone by. In times before, farm labourers were often paid in cider, as it was seen as a safer option to drink than water from the unsavoury watercourses. The apple pulp created through the process was also a perfect feed option for animals, adding to their varied diet. 

The fun starts each year with apple picking at local farms and village orchards, usually on a damp autumn day. All ages young and old help to pick the cider apples for the ancient orchards. 

On our celebration day, we would bring in an original apple press and squeeze the juice from the apples. You would never have the same flavour of juice in any two years as the different varieties of apples altered the final flavours. Once pressed the juice would be barrelled up to ferment. No artificial yeast is needed; the wild yeast which is prevalent on the surface of the apples is nature’s choice and starts the fermentation process. Once it has finished fermenting it would be ‘racked’ off to age in the dark cool barrels creating the alcoholic delight

On our special celebration day, the cider made for the previous year would be sampled and enjoyed in the beer tent. Linda and the ladies in the village would be busy the week before making apple cakes, flapjacks, and other delights for all to enjoy in the barn, with a real cup of tea. 

The children get to work making apple pigs and using creative imaginations and nature’s own harvest. Richard can often be found with the apple peeler, allowing children to create the longest peel ever! Local craftsmen and women show off their skills and traditions using wood, be it weaving, basket, or hurdle making. 

When the sun shines on a sunny October day, we enjoy the unique atmosphere of barn and field for this special village occasion with live music and Morris dancers to complete the scene.

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