Archives for posts with tag: Apple Press

Plenty of apples here at the moment. This weeks working holiday volunteers have been picking them in our orchard. Community Apple Pressing Day is coming up soon (28th Sept), hope to see you there.

apples

The orchard has done really well this year, a combination of good weather (not least for the bees at pollination time), the age of the trees and good pruning. Its really nice to see the traditional varieties thriving and providing both wildlife habitat and food. I am really proud of what we have achieved in the Town Orchard, and am just as excited seeing the Speckled Wood Orchard which we planted 2 years ago starting to develop and grow.

apples ripening 2

Meanwhile over at Slindon the cider press restoration project has been completed. Jointing and fitting together of the timbers was carried out in their workshop with the help of the Slindon Ranger Team.

Assembling the press 1

Seeing the journey of our sustainably produced timber right through from tree to final form gives me a huge kick. There is nothing more pleasing than seeing our wood being used for something which I hope will encourage people to get involved in their local countryside and localy produced food.

Assembling the press 1a

Traditionally oak from this part of the country was thought of as the best quality you could get. Of course I am biased, but it is certainly fantastic timber to work with.

assembling the press 2

We took over pretty much the whole workshop as the press came together. Everyone wanted to see what was going on, I really hope they all like it!

assembling the press 3

We made it to a slightly different design to the Swan Barn Press. But the principle is the same, the metal screw is turned to excert force downwards on a big wooden plate, this presses down on a stack of crushed apple and the juice flows out to be collected in a wooden box. When you remove the bung from the box the juice flows out into whatever you want to collect it in. The spent apple (known as Pommace) was traditionally fed to pigs, but also often found its way onto compost heaps. One of the traditional old varieties we have growing in our orchard was grafted from a tree that was found growing out of a pile of discarded pommace in the 1800’s.

finished press

I am chuffed to bits with the finnished press, I hope lots of people get the chance to use it in the coming years. The timbers that make it up were pretty heavy, and we think the whole thing weighs just over a tonne. The only way to move it is by tractor!

press on tractor

If you are near Slindon and want to see it in action they have an apple pressing event on 12th October and it is going to be at the Arundel Food Festival on 19th October. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the Slindon Press turned out, but am really looking forward to using the Swan Barn Farm press again at our pressing days over the next couple of weeks. I have challenged them to a Cider tasting competition later in the year!

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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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