Thatchers Cider is expecting to press upward of 500 tonnes of English apples every day over the coming months, to meet the growing demand for its range of Somerset ciders. As the busiest time of the year approaches for the Sandford-based cider maker, the apple pickers are now starting their annual task of bringing in the harvest. Throughout the months of September, October and November the family-run company will be working round the clock to press the apples that arrive at its mill, not only from Thatchers’ own Somerset orchards, but from its network of apple growers throughout the Westcountry.
The firm insists that the fruit it uses in its ciders arrives in the best possible condition at the mill before being pressed, and has therefore spent a lot of time in improving its mechanical harvesting systems to ensure the apples are collected in peak condition.
“The quality of the fruit is vital to producing a superior end product, which is why we go to great lengths to ensure that our harvest is carried out with as much care and attention as every other part of the cider making process,” says Managing Director Martin Thatcher.
The firm has 180 acres of orchard, 40 of which are at Christon, nestled at the foot of Somerset’s Mendip Hills. Here Thatchers grows a host of apple varieties, a mix of traditional and more modern trees, including well-known names such as Somerset Redstreak, Katy, Morgan Sweet and Ashton Bitter, growing side by side with older varieties such as Dymock Red, Porters Perfection and Harry Master Jersey.
At the beginning of next year Thatchers will be planting a new 10 acre orchard of 5,000 Katy trees at its Myrtle Farm in Sandford.
Thatchers Cider produces a range of crafted ciders from all English apples, including the single varietals Katy and Coxs, as well as its popular Old Rascal and Gold ciders.
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