Orchard Link members' day

I joined Orchard Link, a south Devon group of orchard enthusiasts, when doing some initial research about trees. I'd been to a few of their courses on pruning and planting, which had been a great introduction. There's also an expert on the end of an email if I ever get stuck or need advice.

All the same, I was still slightly dubious about attending their annual jamboree last weekend as the only Londoner and also having a rather more amateurish set up than most of the members.  I think Roz and I lowered the average age in the room by a fair way but it was a great afternoon. James Crowden was the main speaker and talked at length about the history of cider in the Westcountry and the different varieties of apple. I'm now avidly reading his book Ciderland.

There was also lots of lively debate and questions, and a cider and apple juice competition which i'd shied away from entering. With hindsight I think I'd have been in with a chance but then I'm slightly biased.

There was also a fairly lengthy debate on using natural yeasts vs zapping the juice and adding wine yeast- something worth experimenting with but i'm still not sure about having to give up  consistency in the finished product that you get with wine yeasts. it adds in an element of luck I'm not so sure of.

Buds are beginning to swell on the trees!

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