Tuesday, 29 August 2017

New Apple Mill!

To go with our lovely old press, we've just acquired a vintage Apple Mill, which after some restoration will be in action for Porlock Apple Press and Rural Crafts Festival on Saturday 21st October 2017.

We started out with a hand powered mill/pulper, and then we adapted a vintage 'beet chopper' to prepare the apples for pressing. Neither were ideal, but did what we wanted to do in order to demonstrate the process to obtain apple juice, which would have in turn been fermented to cider.

The hand powered machine was OK for small quantities, but in order to make two cheeses worth of pulp, it took around an hour and a half to chop - and a relay of weary arms!

The old farm 'beet chopper', belt driven by a vintage stationary engine, enabled us to speed up the process dramatically, but the pulp was not sufficiently small to maximise the juice yeild.

Now with our newly acquired vintage apple mill (around 100 years old), we have a machine which was purpose designed for the job. Again, coupled with a vintage stationary engine it will make the pulping process extremely efficient.

It is thanks to your donations that we have been able to save this piece of farming history, and to restore it for future generations to see the old way of doing things - thank you! 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Maintenance update!

We've been busy! 

The press is very old, so we wish to make sure it is looked after, especially as we believe she is the only one of her type still in use. Built in 1862 she is still in great condition, but there is the inevitability that wear and tear will take it's toll eventually.

We want the press to remain as original as possible, so to help us a local small company offerered to make replacement metalwork parts which had reached the end of their working life. We are most grateful to West Country Blacksmiths, based at Allerford Forge, just down the road, for their generous help.

In order to ensure that the press is ready for this years apple harvest, and the Porlock Apple Press & Rural Crafts Festival on Saturday 21st October, we've been busy to make sure that all work is done in time. This week we will be fitting the newly made parts - all made in a traditional way - hopefully ensuring many more years service.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sat 21st October for for the best apple festival in the south west of England - Porlock Apple Press & Rural Crafts Festival 2017

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Porlock Wassail 2017 - as seen on Sky News!

Despite pretty awful January weather the Porlock Wassail Ceremonies took place on the evening of 6th. Even Sky TV were there to capture the event!

Martyn Babb lead the celebrations with the traditional Wassail song, and Tamra Bruce - Wassail Queen - carried out her duties with the noisy encouragement of the gathered crowds.

Wassail Queen - Tamra Bruce   (Credit - Sky News)
Starting at the Visitor Centre orchard garden, the first of the ceremonies were carried out in front of the decorated 'Old Village Press', then up to the Porlock Vale Community Orchard and then back through the village to the Dovery Manor Museum, medieval orchard garden.

To complete the evenings festivities, Martyn Babb performed the 'Mummers Play' - fantastically playing each part himself - at The Royal Oak public house.

 Next year the weather will be kinder... hopefully. Thanks to all who made the event happen!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Porlock Apple Press and Rural Crafts Festival 2016 - Sat 22nd October


WOW... What a day!       This was definitley the best day yet for the Porlock Apple Press Groups endeavours to put Porlock on the regions 'Apple' map.

Me & Bendigo the dog, entertaining the crowd with a Scrumpy song (alright...badly)!!!
The weather was fantastic, the attractions were out of this world, the press squeezed over eight tonnes of handpicked apples, the hog roast with lashings of apple sauce, the home made appley soups, cakes, jams, preserves all were devoured by the thronging crowds.

The small orchard garden at the Porlock Visitor Centre (the old village school), was busy with visitors from the start, with well over 150 at one point, and an estimated total of over 750 during the day. Many stayed for the whole day, including families who had travelled from far and wide, including these from Taunton.

The restored 'Somerset Pattern' press was earnest in pressing juice from the apples chopped & pulped by the 'Bentalls Unchokeable', belt driven by a vintage 1920's Lister CS5/1 early diesel stationary engine.
Thank you to all the visitors for supporting us in so many ways, and I must also thank the very many helpers and supporters who do what they do to allow us to showcase the ways of yesteryear.

We hope that everyone enjoyed what they saw as much as we did putting on the show!

Hopefully, we will do even better for 2017. Let us know what you liked, equally as important, what you didn't like, or what would like in the future, or any ideas that you might have to make it a better show. You can comment on this blog, or use the 'contact us' page in our website  --- porlockapplepress.co.uk --- . We do all this on a shoestring budget - no grants from anywhere - just the donations from the generosity of the visitors at the show. With that in mind, please be cognisant that there might have to be compromises in what might be achieavable!!!!
Thank you all... from a very tired 'Porlock Apple press Group'