Brewing up a Storm

May and June has witnessed a flurry of brewing activities here at The Secret Acre.

While last autumn’s cider has been maturing in the barrel, we have also been pushing our apple aspirations to two extremes. As well as trying our hand at Apple Brandy, we had a second successful go at producing Cider Vinegar.
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Apple Brandy

As I came round Bristol Temple Meads, blue flashing lights appeared in the rear view mirror. With the moonshine sloshing around in the back, there was only one thing for it. I’d have to make a run for the county-line, to the safety of South Gloucestershire!

Regular readers will know that we are not adverse to a bit of home brewing and cider making here at The Secret Acre. So when a friend suggested we tried our hand at Apple Brandy it seemed rude not to.

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Cider – The Motion Picture!

The inevitable consequence of Apple Day in October is of course a new batch of cider making.

And this year our friend Derek was on hand to record it all on film, leaving me in presenting terms somewhere between Jack Hargreaves and Kevin McCloud I fear.

Anyway, grab your popcorn for the first (and quite possible last) Secret Acre movie…

An Apple a Day

October of course sees the official arrival of Apple Day in the UK, and an opportunity for harvest weary smallholders to invite friends round to help out under the guise of having a party!

Although in truth our apple crop had been arriving progressively in the kitchen since the start of August.

And The Secret Acre is certainly no stranger to hosting our own Apple Day events, in our long standing quest to make cider, which fortunately seems to be getting better with time at least. Continue reading

Show Off

August’s harvest rapidly flowed into the Sept/Oct apple crop (more on this in the next blog) and before you know it here we are in November!

But while this hectic period was on, we still found time to enter September’s traditional local Village Show.

Now, veterans of this blog will know we have form when it comes to Shows.

Well, I say we, but although we have both entered before, only Emma had actually triumphed. Continue reading

August’s Bounty – Hail the Apple?

We’ve been quiet online last month, an indication of frenetic activity in the garden and kitchen, as harvest season started to kick in.

It all started with apples. Which may seem odd. Our main apple orchard harvest occurs in mid-September and October after all. But up by the house we have a Beauty of Bath apple tree, a variety cultivated to crop very early in August, which resulted in it being awarded a Royal Horticultural Society First Class Certificate in 1887 no less. Continue reading