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

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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

The Timeless Wonder of it all

April was unusually warm and dry, ensuring Spring arrived with a vengeance, underlining the timeless wonder of it all.

At The Secret Acre it proved a busy month recycling, creating new borders, as well as cutting the grass, planting the potatoes, planting extra successional broad beans and onions, and bottling the last of the cider. Continue reading

Apple Day

2016-apple-day-4Last month didn’t just mark our anniversary of moving to The Secret Acre, it was of course also harvest time.

The UK’s national Apple Day (yes, there is one) is actually on 21st October.

And so during October community groups up and down the country hold a range of apple pressing and harvest celebration events. Continue reading

Turning Apples into Food

311020154813It might not sound as impressive as turning water into wine, apples are basically already food after all, but tuck into the delicious apple cake at The Canteen in Nailsworth, or enjoy the apple sauce with your pork at The Hog in Horsley, and you may have eaten apples from The Secret Acre.

Last year we turned our apples into test batches of juice and cider, with a view to scaling up production this year. But despite getting an industrial size press, the timing of our moving into The Secret Acre meant that our cider empire had to be largely put on hold for 12 months. Continue reading

Award Winning Chutney

Best ChutneyOne of the things we are looking forward to on our journey to a happier life is being creative in the new kitchen. Using our home grown produce and local foraging to cook, bake and preserve etc, perhaps eventually even selling some ‘farm kitchen business’ style as so many smallholders do. Continue reading