In a very short space of time “normal life” has changed, more so in the towns and cities than here in the Shire I know. Nature though seems to know little of COVID-19, and that incredible cycle of life in the world of plants unfolds with each passing day.
The 100 Apple trees and 55 Quince trees that we planted as lock-down began are happy and thriving on the land and, with each new leaf, signal a better future it seems to me.
Meanwhile back in the cidery, tanks and barrels full of fermenting juice and maturing cider continue their evolution from sweet to dry and from angular to round. No furlough for the cider maker, we need to be there to watch and listen, and to intervene at just the right point to capture the essence of the fruit in bottle.
We have been touched by the support from lovers of true artisan cider. The remarkable way many customers have turned their businesses upside down almost overnight has been a dream to watch. The response to the launch of our online shop, which we may never have got around to doing, has been astonishing. We often talked about, never actioned membership club, this is a real thing now, and people are joining. Local people are coming to our newly opened little shop on takeaway days and discovering our cider for the first time.
We’ve discovered that not all of our ciders need to be statements and we’ve been working on some new things, creative and joyous and, in common with all fine ciders, joyously drinkable.
We are used to uncertainty as cider makers - how can we know what nature will give us to work with each year until we have seen the season pass? – but this is different. How many apples should we pick and press this year? Sitting here right now, I really don’t know.
What I do know with certainty is that in the future as we try and grow our business into something properly sustainable, we must always remember to think small. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference.