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Showing posts from 2011

End of year post

Well at last we have finished making cider for another year.
It has been an unusual and somewhat challenging cidermaking time for us for various reasons.

The local apple crop did not do particularly well despite reports nationally that it was a bumper year for apples. Lack of rain throughout the year saw a marked decrease in size of fruit.
One orchard owner which we have had apples off over several years let us down badly. Despite the communications we had concerning the time of when we were going to come and pick it them up, we phoned them up to inform them we going to come in the next few days and they said it was fine... THEN they rang back to say that someone had already picked them... astonishing behaviour. When I said that we had contacted them etc and their come back was 'well I can't change the past can I???' Errr no sir but you do remember the past. We move on...

Anyway we are pleased with our slight tweak to the cider making process which has made it a lot easier fo…

Autumn on the farm

Well we have now got a couple more ciders available in bottles. Damson and Elderflower and also the long awaited Mahorall Mulled Cider! We are extremely pleased with how our new bottled ciders are being received and it was well worth the rigmarole of sorting out labels, bottles, caps etc. We are particularly pleased to be able to offer our Mulled Cider in a bottle. It is always been very popular when we prepare it at the shows that we do over the winter and once you have had a taste then your hooked. Having a nightmare with trying to suss out building the online shop for the website.. its a lot more difficult trying to build one yourself. I am hoping however to be able to crack it in the next couple of weeks in time for the christmas market. We have started cidermaking for 2011 ! Everyone assumes we should have started ages ago but they fail to realise that the season dictates when we start and more importantly the apples have to be ripe so the natural sugars are at their maximum. The…
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And it just keeps getting busier!


We have been to quite a few shows over the last 4 weeks and we have been on the whole very pleased indeed with the results. We have been to Far Forest show, Minsterley, Bridgnorth, Acton Scott, Ludlow Food and Drink, TCHT Autumn Fayre and also a show at Attingham Park!

Ludlow Food and Drink is the biggest show that we go to and also handily enough one of the closest! We had 8 different ciders on offer at Ludlow and we launched our new cider too! Cider and ginger is the latest offering from Mahorall Farm and it is always good to test drive a new cider at a show as you you get first hand reaction of what people think. Well we ran out of our new cider and ginger twice! Excellent reaction and we are now planning to continue it and put into a bottle.

Lots of things happened at Ludlow including yours truly being interviewed by a Sky cooking channel, our cider being used as an ingredient in a Shropshire Fidget pie, our largest transaction at a show so far and e…
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July/ early August has been frantic for all sorts of reasons.....


At the start I managed to have a proper weekend away down in London which was absolutely brilliant. A very special weekend which involved doing a whole load of things. Involved going to War Horse, the comedy store and going on a power boat on the Thames! Really really enjoyed the break despite not having a moment to relax.

Oswestry Show was in July. This is a show we had not been to before and wow what a surprise! The saturday was brilliant - the sun was out and the atmosphere was very special. The show is in the streets of the town and the whole feel of it was of an idyllic market town. Very well organised and I was rushed off my feet from the word go! Sunday was a little different as around lunchtime the heavens opened... and open they did. It is sometime since I have seen rain like that and the market stall I was under was not quite fit for purpose. I am not sure if any stand could have survived the downpour that we ha…

June Blog

June has gone quite quickly. We have however got our new range of ciders on the go at last!
The new ciders have been tried at various shows and have gone very well indeed so we have decided now to bottle these ciders so they will last longer. This enables us to offer these special ciders all the year round. Our new ciders are:

Cider with Damson
Cider with Elderflower
Strong Dry Cider

These new ciders will only be available at the farm shop, the shows we attend and I am hoping to be also offer it on mailorder too.
Our first show with the new ciders was at Ellesmere on the 18th/19th June and we were very pleased with how the ciders went. It is nice to be able to offer a tasting of these ciders at shows so customers know exactly what they taste like. What is pleasing is to be able to offer a larger range to customers.
Ellesmere show was well attended and that is down to the organiser of the show called Lincoln who is a great character. Not so sure about the dressing up like a bunny rabbit but I…

May Blog

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Still no real rain in May and the ground is suffering. The grass has not grown anywhere near what we would have hoped.

We had our first food fayre in May which was The Shropshire Show at Shrewsbury on the weekend of the 14th/15th of May. The show I think is still trying to find its feet after a rejigging of management and it is certainly getting there. One criticism that was certainly relevant to us being in the food marquee, was that there were too many producers selling very similar products. I feel that this a huge oversight as it is not only the exhibitors but also the visitors which subsequently get a poorer experience. The layout of the marquee was good and plenty of space and the weather was pretty good. As I keep convincing myself it is not always the sales you do on the day but it is the general presence and advertising. As a result of the show (or more to the point hanging around pubs in Shrewsbury in the evenings) we now have our cider for sale in a Shrewsbury pub!

We also ha…

April News

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April as we all know has been exceptional dry. This has its advantages and also its disadvantages. The grass has stopped growing altogether and we are now pretty desperate for some proper rain. One advantage that has been considerably beneficial is that the dry weather has enabled me to get machinery down into the vallet and to get some wood for the winter ahead. I have bought an electric winch and mounted it on to the front of the old Leyland tractor. The winch can pull about 6 tons and the creme de la creme is that the winch can be operated by remote control! This machine has been enormously useful and the investment has been a very good one! The valley is about 10 acres and has a track down to the flat bottom floor. It can only be accessed in dry weather and as it has been so dry I can succesfully pull out large loads of wood on a trailer. I have been immensely impressed with this tool and would be more than happy in selling the things! I have also gone one step further in purchasi…

March

Well we are just about coming to the end of March and I have no idea where it is has gone!

The days are getting longer and with the clocks changing in a few days it will be even better. It is just as well so more things can be a done in a day!

I have been going to a more social networking courses and I feel I have taken on board as much as I can handle now. Very interesting stuff and I can certainly see how it can increase brand awareness. Now over 150 followers which I am quite impressed withI am looking forward to putting it to good use when we launch a few things that are in the pipeline. Yes we do have a good few things in the cooking pot that are coming together quite nicely.

Went to an interesting talk on The Much Wenlock Olympian Trail plans next year. Much Wenlock or more to the point a man called Penny Brooks contributed to the rebirth of the Olympics that we know today. Quite hard to believe but it is true. We are hoping to be on the map (quite literally) when people hopefully …

February on the farm

Bottling a lot of cider this month. Both our dry and medium bottled ciders are close to running out so we have had to do two bottlings this month. We have decided to alter the style of the glass bottles from the 'beer style' bottle to a more slender modern looking shape. The new style bottles are also more eco friendly which is is an interesting concept but the idea is that they have less glass in them. This results in less energy and materials to make them and also they are slightly lighter. This will help slightly with transport and of course they will be lighter to lift for individuals. Our label will be staying the same so they will be just as easy to recognise on the shelf! We are expecting the new bottles to come on line next month.

The fermentation has been slow this winter and the yeasts have sort of had the brakes on as at has been so relentlessly cold. Things have been picking up now and one particular tank is going berserk and sounds like a diver under water! Consta…
After sort of hoping that the start of the New Year was going to be nice and gentle it seems as if we are busier than ever!
It is disappointing that the Quest for finding wood has reared its ugly head again and dead standing trees are under threat. A major wood gathering mission needs to be launched again for now and the future. A winch attached to something has to be the answer as so many trees are just out of reach. I want to keep 'getting stuck' in a vahicle to a minimum because it is tedious....
Forever on the quest of learning new things I attended an online marketing seminar at the new Shrewsbury Food Centre. I already dip my toe into Facebook and Twitter but not really grasping how it could be properly used regarding marketing. I certainly have an interest and I also quite like the fact that this type of marketing and information sharing can all be done for free.
The course run by 4startersuk and sponsored by Shropshire County Council was very good indeed and I thoroughly…