My First Taste Of Cider
How I Discovered Cider
I still meet people who through tragic misfortune, have never tried cider. I can remember the very moment I had my first taste of cider. It was from a polythene bottle, it was mainstream and it was sweet – but it was delicious. There is a joyous chorus released when a cider apple is fermented, and it is ready to sing for the tastebuds of the fortunate.
From this bottle of sunshine, I followed my nose out of the orchards that surround me and into the barns of local cider makers. The knowledge, pride and spark which fired up as they shared folktales and learned experiences only ignited my fierce desire to join and contribute to this industry which blends magic with science, and history with myth. I was hooked, I was aboard, I took the King’s shilling and leapt in with both feet!
Exploring The Cider Making Tradition
After I’d made my first batch of cider, I cycled around the parish looking for more orchards from which to buy fruit. In the farmyard at Prowse Farm I met Peter Stoyle and his family. I was captivated by his mastery of traditional straw pressed cider. In his hands is a skill on the press passed down the generations of his own family, and learned from an unbroken lineage in Devon that runs to hundreds, likely thousands of years.
Meeting and working with families who keep our culture and our natural landscape alive and thriving is such a joy. But every cider drinker is implicated in the incredible history and culture that this (and only this) drink has in our country. Every glass of cider enjoyed is a toast to the farmers and the cider men and women who make this orchestra of apples their life’s work. Great cider is an evocation of the very soil we tread upon and a triumph of human endeavour. Not everyone discovers cider, it is reserved for the fortunate.
Written by Barny Butterfield.