Summer's long gone, but there are a few things that make autumn my second favourite season, definitely not the weather though! I take autumn as a gentle preparation for a few months of dreadful cold and lack of light. Fresh air, changing colours, autumn produce and cider, on the other hand are those things that make this season more bearable, and actually beautiful.
A few weeks ago I visited Broome Farm in Herefordshire owned and run by Mike Johnson, a cider maker and owner of Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry Company. Cider became my favourite drink quickly after I moved in the UK, so I was really excited to be able to watch the process of making this delicious drink. Mike produces quite a few different varieties of cider and perry (all made from 100% pure juice) which I had the pleasure to taste. Luckily, the tasting came after I had taken a tour around the farm and watched apples being harvested and turned into a delicious naturally fermented drink which can come up to 8.4% alc! Mike's apple and perry pear orchards spread over 40 acres producing many different varieties of cider apple and perry pears including Michelin and Dabinett bittersweet cider apples grown for Bulmers. Mike is an enthusiastic cider maker and really nice person so it comes as no surprise that he's been awarded many times for his produce and contribution to the cider industry. He's always happy to share his knowledge with new cider makers and he also runs an annual cider festival, which I really hope to visit next year.
So despite a typical rainy autumn day and a very early start, I had a great time (and arrived back home a bit tipsy).