More Cider with Roger

Earlier in the month I posted an entry called Cider with Roger encouraging you to visit Land’s End Farm, where Roger Wilkins produces his famous farmhouse cider.  By coincidence, I recently stumbled across a video about him and I just had to share it with you.

This beautifully shot film is the perfect antidote to a stressful day:

Posted under Awards, Countryside Organisations, Places to Visit, Things to Do

This post was written by Lucy on September 27, 2008

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The Sheep Market

Mucking about on the internet when I had far more important things to do, I stumbled across this.

According to the accompanying blurb, “TheSheepMarket.com is a collection of the first 10,000 sheep made by workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Workers were paid 0.02 ($USD) to “draw a sheep facing to the left.“”

Lucky internet time-wasters like myself now get to click on each sheepy effort and watch it being drawn.  But how difficult is it to “draw a sheep facing to the left”?  I gave it my best shot in Paint and this is what I came up with:

Pathetic

Pathetic

Posted under Just for Fun

This post was written by Lucy on September 13, 2008

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Nominate Your Rural Hero

Support the countryside community by making your nominations for The Countryside Alliance Awards.  Formally known as the Best Rural Retailer competition, these awards were borne of a need to support and promote our rural communities and are now in their fourth year.

The categories for the Awards, which you can vote on from 1st September, are as follows:

  1. Best Local Food Award
  2. Best Village Shop/Post Office Award
  3. Rural Enterprise Award (formerly the diversification category)*
  4. Daily Telegraph Best Traditional Business Award
  5. Rural Hero (NEW to 2008 – they want to hear about anyone heroic, no matter their age, line of work or what their heroic deeds)

They will also be naming the politicians of the year and inviting suggestions in the following categories from September:

  1. The Grassroots Award for community campaigning (open to Councillors, devolved bodies and the UK and Irish Parliaments)
  2. The Westminster Award for bringing the countryside to Parliament
  3. The Rural Vision Award, for the politician with the countryside’s future at heart (open to Councillors, devolved bodies and the UK and Irish Parliaments)

The competition was launched in 2005 with 600 nominations.  In 2006, 2,000 nominations were made and last year they received 2,500.  If you would like to get involved and make this the best year yet, you can NOMINATE HERE.

The closing date for nominations is  27th October 2008.

*Anyone want to vote for Muddy Matches, feel free (hehe)!

Posted under Awards, Countryside Alliance, Countryside Organisations, Rural businesses

This post was written by Lucy on September 10, 2008

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Cider with Roger

Deep in the heart of Somerset, Land’s End Farm, where Roger Wilkins makes his farmhouse cider, is a bit of a gem and, if you successfully manage to navigate the winding narrow roads that lead there you’ll probably be in need of a drink.

When Emma and I paid Roger a visit last November, he was busy pressing apples but stopped briefly to indicate where the half pint glasses were, and then pretty much left us to get on with it.  This is a ‘no frills’ traditional ciderhouse with just dry and sweet farmhouse cider on offer.  If you want medium, you can blend it yourself.

Roger

Roger

It might have been 11am, but we were by no means the first arrivals.  Cider in hand, we tentatively sat down at the wooden table, where we got chatting to Frank and Gibby, two lovely old boys who regularly make the trip up to Land’s End Farm from Glastonbury to have a bit of a yarn and stock up on cider at £5/gallon.  Roger also sells cheddar and stilton cheeses, as well as vegetables, eggs, chutneys and pickles, all of which are produced locally.  Our new friends kindly shared a plate of his cheddar with us, which was the perfect accompaniment for the dry cider.

Frank, Gibby, Lucy and Emma

Frank, Gibby, Lucy and Emma

The cider itself was delicious.  Slightly suspicious of the stuff after too much Diamond White in my teens, I was pleasantly surprised by this flat and fruity liquid.  Don’t be fooled by how easy it is to drink though; at 6.5% you don’t want more than half a pint if you’re the one who’s got to navigate your way back to the main road!

The key to its flavour is in its purity.  The apples are picked, left to mature for a bit and then crushed.  The resulting pulp, or ‘pomace’, is then added to the press, layer-on-layer and wrapped in hessian.  Once this has done its job, the freshly pressed juice is piped into large vats, where it is left to ferment naturally and then mature.  The pressed pomace, which is solid by now, is then sold on for cattle feed.  No water is used and the only thing that might be added is saccharin if Roger is making the sweet cider.  And – give or take the odd detail and a few technical terms – that’s it!

Cider Making

Cider Making

I highly recommend this little adventure if you’re ever in the South West.  However, allow plenty of time to enjoy yourselves properly – we originally only planned to pop in for half an hour, but soon realised that was impossible!

Wilkins Farmhouse Cider, Land’s End Farm, Mudgley, Wedmore, Somerset  Tel: 01934 712385

Open: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun: 10am-1pm

Posted under Places to Visit, Things to Do

This post was written by Lucy on September 3, 2008

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September: What’s Good to Eat?

Food to feast on this month:

VEGETABLES

artichoke | aubergine | beetroot | broccoli | butternut squash | carrots | celery | courgettes | cucumber | fennel | garlic | | kale | kohlrabi | leeks | mangetout | marrow | onions | peppers | potatoes (maincrop) | radishes | rocket | runner beans | sweetcorn | watercress | wild mushrooms

FRUIT & NUTS

apples | blackberries | damsons | figs | grapes | melons | nectarines | peaches | pears | plums | tomatoes | walnuts

MEAT

duck | grouse | guinea fowl | lamb | rabbit | venison | wood pigeon

FISH & SEAFOOD

clams | cod | crab | dover sole | grey mullet | haddock | halibut | herring | john dory | lemon sole | lobster | mackerel | monkfish | plaice | scallops | sea bass | squid | turbot

For more information and recipe ideas, visit Eat The Seasons.

There are several good reasons why we should eat food that’s grown locally and is in season:

  1. it tastes nicer
  2. it’s often cheaper
  3. it’s a way of supporting your local economy
  4. it goes some way to reduce the amount of energy needed to grow and transport your food (and help reduce your carbon footprint)

Posted under Food, Seasons

This post was written by Lucy on September 1, 2008

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