Hello and welcome to our weekly update.
Last week was very busy, with us finishing off our juice pressing season. We have used the last of the Jonagold in our coldstore to make some Apple & Mango juice. This is a popular juice, with its almost creamy texture from the Alphonso Mango Purée. We have put more Mango in this batch as an experiment and if the feedback we receive is good, then we will make all future batches this way.
We make a small amount of elderflower champagne and cordial every year, so the elderflower picking is in full swing. Once the elderflower heads have been picked they are put into barrels with water, cane sugar, citric acid, sliced lemons and oranges. This blend of citrus fruits help give the cordial and champagne a better depth of flavour. With the cordial, it is infused for 4 days in the coldstore, then it is filtered, bottled and pasteurised.
The champagne is a bit more fiddly, and requires around a week in a warm place. This gives the yeast that is present on the flowers, a chance to start fermentation. It is this that gives the elderflower it's sparkle. Once it has started, it is put into proper champagne bottles from France, and the stopper and wire cage are put on, this then needs about 2 weeks to build up enough pressure. Once the pressure has built up it will keep for about 6 months.
We have also been busy picking cherries, the earliest variety we grow is called Burlat, or to give it it's full name, Bigarreau Precoce de Burlat. This is a very early ripening variety, first introduced from Morocco in 1936. It is a heart shaped cherry with a dark red skin and dark red flesh. It is somewhat softer than most of the new varieties, which tend to be quite firm, but they have a good flavour and are sweet. We normally only have these for about 10 days, then we move onto Merchant, which is an early main crop variety. These tend to be a bit larger and a bit firmer. The cherries have been really good so far, they enjoy the hot dry weather, although they could do with a small amount of gentle rain just to size them up slightly.