Year 7 Hanging in there
We start '22 largely as we started '21, newspapers rolling out a litany of depressing statistics and the threat of a lockdown looming large over us all.
However that dark cloud aside, from my point of view I've had a great year; loads of support from some great outlets adding The Other Cup in Newton Abbot as well as 'going national' thanks to the lovely people at Scrattings. As ever The Nobody Inn down the road from the orchard, along with The Cridford Inn, the Cider bar in Newton Abbot, and Cafe Ode and The Shipwrights Arms in Shaldon have been great. The wonderful Art and Craft brewery continues to provide a London outlet for my Pet Nat.
COVID trapped me in the city last Christmas meaning I racked the bulk of the cider slightly later than I would have wanted. It felt so good to get down to Devon and into the shed. I left the cider on the lees longer than usual; until the end of January although the results were good.
We had a cold end to spring/early summer which meant fruit was thinner on the ground than usual come harvest. However my own small orchard is grudgingly beginning to fruit after obstinately holding out for the best part of a decade (probably in retaliation for my using it to haphazardly learn to prune). We've spent a lot more time at the wood these last two years, staying in the shed watching the seasons change with natures ebb and flow. It's also well stocked with sloes and Damsons so the cupboard under the stairs is full of jars of deep purple gins and vodkas along with the odd experiment in elderflower champagne.
Two of the orchard remnants I usually pick from have been sold and I've not been able to reach the new owners, I hope that means the fruit is being used. I found a lovely 'new' old orchard full of gnarled trees clinging on at the edge of Dartmoor to pick from this year. We also uncovered the original orchard plan from the orchard I pick at on the Teign estuary, a veritable treasure map that will help with creating single varietal ciders next year.
I'm just putting the finishing touches to the first few bottles picked just from my orchard, which I'm really excited about- label inspired by the Neutral Cider Hotel who continued to 'support' my little cider project this year largely by continuing to take the piss (I'm now quite sensitive about my arms!).
I hope everyone has made a resolution to drink better in 2022, Wassail!