In the orchard here at Swan Barn Farm the fruit is ripening nicely. We are having a really good apple year and the colours on the trees look stunning.

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The sight of hundreds of apples ripening in the sun has to shed a small ray of light in even the heaviest heart.

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Coming up on the 28th September from 10-4 we have our annual Community Apple Pressing Day. Its usually great fun, if you are not too far away and can make it over you will be very welcome. If you bring your own apples you can take home a fair share of juice, this can be drunk fresh or if you want we will even teach you how to turn it into cider.

Our expert countryside team will be on hand to answer any of your apple, orchard, pruning or fruit tree related questions. If you havent any apples you can still come down to take a turn on our fascinating historic pressing machinery and have a taste of the finest, freshest apple juice that will ever have passed your lips… not to be missed!

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Our collegues over at Slindon have had green eyes for our press for a few years now. They have managed to scrounge an old press screw and asked me to help them restore it and make a new press for it to drive.

The screw was rusted solid and was missing several key parts. The first of these was the piece that connected the screw to the plate of the press (the square bit at the bottom below). Fortunately a friend of the property who is an expert metal worker was happy to step in and help us make a new one, he even managed to make a new threaded hole to bolt it onto the bottom of the screw. It was a really tricky job doing this in old cast iron and I am so impressed with what he achieved. Thanks John!

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With a restored screw the next job was for me to get busy on the sawmill and make all the parts for the press. The screw is massive, much bigger than ours and so the wooden beams have to be bigger too.

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We are making it out of Swan Barn Farm Oak… nothing but the finest!

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A good bit of head scratching went in to the design, I think from looking at the size of the screw that it may well have been mounted in the tie beam of a barn in the past, so making a stand alone press is going to be quite a challenge. I do like a challenge though.

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Below is the all new flat pack press, with beam sizes of up to 11 by 9 inches I dont reckon there are many places you can get one of those off the shelf!

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All we need to do now is put the thing together… its going to be tricky, but, fingers crossed it will work out well. If it does I think it is going to be quite something. Look out for it in use at a Community Apple Pressing Day at Slindon soon.

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