One of our top sellers this year has been Harrow Wood Farm! They were established in 2016 and have gone on to be one of our most popular ciders this year, especially at festivals looking to unearth the next cider gem. You can read how it all came about below and the grand plans for the future, with 800 tress recently planted on their camp site.
Dickie is an amazing character and is extremely passionate about his production, even if it does “make him sad to see the cider leave the barn!” 😂
Their story: (http://www.dickies-dribble.co.uk/history.html)
It all started just over 2 years ago on a trip to watch Bath Rugby with a good friend.
He’d been making cider for some time and produced about 10 gallons each year.
I had just finished running a holiday park in the Purbecks for 27 years and was looking for a fresh challenge.
So after further conversations with John, I bought two books. The first was entitled ,”Making Craft Cider,” by Simon McKie and the second was, “Craft Cider Making,” by Andrew Lea. I particularly liked these books as they had lots of pictures in them!
So starting from a blank sheet of paper I designed the barn I needed and what I thought was the right equipment.
This is where I found a wonderful firm called Vigo Ltd at Dunkerswell. It was like going into a sweetie shop with lots of shiny things that pressed, stored, cleaned, bottled, carbonated and labelled. A one stop shop for the budding novice. I believe they cater for grown ups as well!
So new barn assembled and equipment bought, I was ready to become an expert in a single bound. Well how hard can it be just rotting apples and seeing what it turns out like.
I also planted some 800 apple trees on my farm to produce my crop, in due course. They were Kingston Black, Dabinett, Katy, Somerset Red Streak and Browns.
The first year I managed to buy some apples from Mr Dan Green who has a little orchard in Chalmington just North West of Dorchester. I made two batches of cider, one was nearly all Browns and the other was Dabinett. The first batch turned out really well with the Yeast I added, but the second batch tasted like old bananas.
So to my first learning curve, you cannot just chuck in the juice, add yeast and hope. No you have to kill bacteria and wild yeasts and furthermore the sulphites won’t work if the Ph is over 3.8. So now I have to become a chemist, talk about all the gear and no idea!
So I took to my 2 books and read them properly this time, ascertaining that I really had to stabilise my Ph to about 3.5 by adding malic acid and then adding about 100-150ppm sodium metabisulphite to sterilize the apple juice. Then I had to wait 24 hours and add my cultured yeast. The results this year have been excellent and I have produced some tasty cider with no one dying.
MEDIUM CIDER: His Harrow Wood Farm cider is a blend of Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Browns.
This is an orange/golden colour with a slight dryness underneath the tongue when tasted.
Well worth a visit if you are in the area, even if just to hear Dickie’s passion for his cider alone!