Ridgeway Cider – January 2022 Meeting Report

Jan 28, 2022

We didn’t have our Christmas party last month, feeling that it wouldn’t be safe in the current circumstances, and missed seeing each other. This month, however, we were back together again, and very pleased to welcome guests and new members.

Ridgeway Farm
Ridgeway Farm

Our speakers were from Ridgeway Cider, which has been made on the family farm in Holcombe Rogus since 2014. Cider itself has been around for a lot longer- the Romans were enjoying it over 2000 years ago. At various times in the past cider was used as part payment to workers. The British now drink more of it than all the rest of the world’s citizens put together!

The Hasells used to sell the apples from the over 175 trees on the farm to existing cider makers, but having been given a cider press, decided to try cidermaking for themselves, with considerable success, receiving a gold award at the 2015 Bath and West Show and other awards subsequently. We learned about the process of fermenting the cider with wild yeast, then racking it to remove sediment, and adding sulphur dioxide to kill mould and bacteria before leaving the cider to mature. It’s then blended to create the right balance – dry, medium, or alcohol-free. Cider vinegar is also made. We enjoyed tasting the samples, and many of us will look for the cider in local shops, or at the Cider Barn on the farm.

As well as our monthly meetings, members can join several small interest groupsbooks, craft, writing, walking and a supper club so far, and two new ones have been proposed and will certainly be popular- a gardening group and a ‘breakfast club’. We also play walking netball and will enter a team into a walking netball ‘festival’ in Yeovil next month, hoping for a better showing than our previous performance in a tournament, when we were nearer the bottom of the rankings than the top.

The speaker at our next meeting will be Candy Adkins, who will tell us about her mother, ‘Spitfire Girl’ Jackie Moggridge, and her wartime experiences. We will meet at 7.30 m on 17 February and will be very pleased to welcome guests.

If you would like to come along, please let us know in advance by emailing [email protected] or calling 07773 350459, so we can ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place.

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