Apple pressing with a three-year-old

After the frankly pathetic attempt of our orchard last year (six apples in total), this year’s weather has been perfect. Instead of a freezing spring and three-week-solid rainfall when the bees were supposed to be a-buzzin’ and a-pollinatin’, this year we had loads of bees and then a bit of rain and a bit of warmth. Perfect British apple growing weather.

So now it’s time to harvest. The team: my husband, our three-year-old daughter and me. (Son had ridden his bike round us a few times then gone inside to read a book. Can’t argue with that.)

Here is the diary of our Orchard Logistics Manager. It can’t be illegal because (a) we didn’t pay her, (b) only some of the juice will end up as cider and (c) it hadn’t started to ferment while she was involved. Officer.

First, you must select your apples.

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Inspect rigorously.

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Demonstrate satisfaction.

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Demonstrate excitement about the whole business.

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Ask your responsible adults to cut them in half and take out the bad bits. Then scrat.

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Put scratted apples into press. Turn handle of press, trying not to hit yourself in the face.

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Fill as many containers as you can find. Steal and drink juice constantly because it’s so delicious. Take a celebratory bike ride round garden.

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It may look like ditchwater, but this stuff is unbelievably good. We freeze a lot and drink it through the winter. Some ends up as cider (in the large glass container). A lot ends up in daughter by the end of the afternoon, and the pressed apple bits get shared between our two sheep and the compost heap.

We’ll do this every weekend for about a month; I might even try to dry some apple rings this year. Will I have to start reading Country Life and get a labrador?