Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 651

6 8 JUNE 2023 News&Views Pip others to the post this summer and experience the joys of orchard life, with great food and drink to hand, writes Judy Cogan ‘Orchards are a very special place where you can truly be at peace with nature’ PICK ME UP Sta at Nightingale Cider during harvest (main); Artistraw’s Tom Tibbits and Lydia Crimp (top right); Cider Bus Saturdays at Burrow Hill Cider (right) Imagine sipping a glass of something cool and fruity overlooking sweeping countryside views that meld into hundreds of acres of sun-dappled orchards. With cider sales soaring and frothy apple blossomblooming, orchards old (and some new) are fast turning into hip summer hangouts. “Apple orchards are a lovely place for families to visit,” says SarahHolland, Partner and regional beer and cider buyer forWaitrose. “There’s a lot of heritage and tradition surrounding British cider and a real authenticity around craft cider for people to get behind.” According to theWestons Cider Report 2023, the popularity of craft cider and its eclectic flavours has grown by just over 10%. And tomeet the demand, many new cider makers are getting in on the act. “It’s great to see all the spots for cider making here in the UK,” says Noah Torn, cofounder of Torn Plant cider. “It’s wonderful to go somewhere and drink something local and enjoy the atmosphere such as Little Van Rouge, Basement Tacos and Mortimers. “It’s all very relaxed,” saysMatilda Temperley, managing director of the family run business. “People think it’s old-fashioned, but it’s howwe live. You can sit in the orchards drinking a pint of cider made from the same orchards. That’s special.” Tours are ad hoc, with guided cider, apple liqueur and cider brandy tastings. somersetciderbrandy.com/burrow-hill-cider SMALL BATCH, BIG HEART Nightingale Cider, Tenterden, Kent SamNightingale grew up on his family’s fruit farm before returning in 2017 to begin cider production. “We’re surrounded by orchards and this is a beautiful place,” he says. “We’re a small batch, wild fermented operation withminimal intervention in everything we do.” The new taproom launched last year is called TheWatch, a collective noun for a group of nightingales. “Myself, my siblings, my family, we’re all based here, so in essence we are the watch.” Open all summer on Fridays and Saturdays, expect livemusic, wood-oven pizzas, charcuterie boards and a range of Kentish ciders and beers. Tours and tastings take place fortnightly. Everyone is welcome – look out for the friendly resident dog, Pippin. nightingalecider.com OLD AND THE NEW Westons Cider, Much Marcle, Herefordshire More than one bottle of Henry Westons Vintage Organic Cider is sold every second in the UK. Westons has been producing cider for 140 years, but remains true to traditional methods of sourcing fruit locally, milling and pressing and fermenting. Latest releases such asWyld A WARM WELCOME TO CIDER COUNTRY In focus that comes with it. There’s a kind of a unique home rootedness to what cider is because it’s so natural, and so dependent on where it’s made.” More than 60%of the world’s cider is produced in the UK, so there are lots of opportunities to see the brewers for yourself. Here’s a selection of orchards that are fizzing with activity. A RELAXED VIBE Burrow Hill Cider, Martock, Somerset This enchanting farm, that’s beenmaking cider for 150 years, sits at the base of BurrowHill, overlooking the Somerset Levels. Every Saturday in summer, a cider bus [also seen at Glastonbury] serves cool pints in the yard. Expect family-friendly vibes with live bands or circus acts and local food traders