Cider apple harvest starts in late September and can continue until mid November. Traditionally the apples were handpicked but the harvest is now undertaken by tractor mounted tree shakers. These machines move up and down the rows of trees shaking each tree individually so that all the fruit lands on the ground. Once all the apples are on the floor, automated harvesters with air blowers and mechanical brushes are used to sweep the fruit up and it is then transported to a storage area. Fruit is pressed as soon as possible, having been washed, so that it doesn’t deteriorate.
Cider apples are distinctive because their flesh is fibrous which makes it easier to extract the juice. The juice of the cider apple is high in tannin which gives the cider body and colour, and it is high in sugar and low in acidity. Cider apples are split into four categories: sweet, bittersweet, bittersharp and sharp. Our unique climate means that cider apples are grown without irrigation which makes them very sustainable.