Two days to go to Apple Day 2016

It’s Friday night and we’re busy making last minute preparations for Cambridge Apple Day this Sunday. The good news is that the BBC is still predicting good weather (phew).

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Unfortunately for those last minute scrumpers, Saturday looks like an absolute shocker, with rain predicted to tip it down from early afternoon until late into the night. Don’t let that deter you though. We need more apples, and a little rain never hurt anyone, did it?

Thanks to some sterling work from the Colligans, McBriens, Uptons, Adams, Suttons, miscellaneous neighbours, and the 28th Cambridge cub scouts, we’ve gathered quite a decent pile already, but we definitely need more. See the earlier blog post for advice on scrumping and get out there!

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If you haven’t confirmed you’re coming yet, then please respond to the Eventbrite invite that is languishing in your inbox, or email phil at the usual email address.

We’ll start the fun at around 10.00 a.m. and aim for the first pressing at around 11.00 a.m. after which the press will be running all day, with a short break for lunch at 1 p.m.

We’ll carry on until we run out of apples or steam (usually around 5 p.m.), but we always need a hand clearing up, so please do stick around if you can.

Make sure you bring along a couple of clean bottles to take home some juice, e.g. old milk containers. Give them a good clean in hot soapy water and a rinse. The juice will last a couple of days in the fridge or can be frozen and enjoyed later.

Jane is preparing overnight pork with apple sauce again, ideal when you’ve worked up an appetite pressing apples. The brilliant Balzano’s Delicatessen has donated the bread rolls.

If you can bring some kid-friendly snacks or cake it would help a lot.  There is now an informal Great Apple Day Bake Off, which Kate Wilsher won last year by popular acclaim with her Ginger cake.  Challengers are welcome to try their luck.

We’ve got a couple of barrels of last year’s cider to work through and, of course, there will be many gallons of fresh apple juice. What’s not to like?

Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday!

Jane, Phil and the Cambridge Apple Day crew.

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Let’s scrump

It’s feeling a bit chilly in the mornings, which can only mean one thing…

Just one week to go until Cambridge Apple Day and this is the weekend for scrumping. I’ll be building the tump this weekend, which means we’re ready for you to drop off your apples.

Last year was an amazing year for apples. Incredible variety and a bigger pile than we’ve ever managed to gather before. Let’s see if we can do even better this year!

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Which is where you come in… we need everyone who can to get scrumping this weekend. We follow some simple rules here at the Cambridge Apple Day.

1. Ask before you scrump, but don’t be afraid to ask.  Most people with apple trees don’t really know what to do with all of their apples, and you’ll probably be doing them a favour. If you need an incentive, we’ve got some delicious bottled cider that’s ready now.  Come and get a few bottles to give to people to say thanks for the apples.

2. We take any type of apple.  We follow the centuries old recipe for cider making that basically involves having a great mix of cider apples, eaters, cookers and crabs.  Sweet or sour we want them all.

3. Windfalls are fine as long as they aren’t from orchards with animals in.  Throw away anything with mold on, but a bit of bruising isn’t usually a problem.

If you’ve got access to apples, but need some help scrumping, get in touch and we’ll send out some of our wonderful volunteers to help.

Finally, if you haven’t confirmed you’re coming to Apple Day this year, please get in touch and let us know.  We’d love to see you there.

Phil

(on behalf of the Cambridge Apple Day crew)

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Apple Day 2016: Sunday 2 October

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I am happy to confirm that Cambridge Apple Day is all set for Sunday 2 October.

Last year was a record-breaker (read all about it here: 2015 Apple Day) and we’re looking forward to another great event this year. Fingers crossed for good weather.

It’s time to start looking out for apples to scrump. We can use any type of apple and the more variety the better.

Remember to always ask before you scrump, but don’t be afraid to ask. Most people with apple trees don’t know what to do with them and you’ll probably be doing them a favour by putting them to good use. Prizes as ever for the most audacious scrump.

If you need an incentive, we’ve got some delicious bottled cider that’s ready now. Come and get a few bottles to say thanks for the apples.

This year we’re trialing Eventbrite to manage RSVPs, so that we know how many people to expect on the day. If you haven’t received an invite by email yet, drop me (Phil) an email, text, facebook message, dm on twitter, or shout at me in the street, and I’ll send you an invite.

Apologies to the many people who’ve asked, but the Cambridge Apple Day is still an invite only affair.  We currently hold it in Phil and Jane’s back garden, and while we want to open it up to the public one day, we aren’t able to do that yet.

Phil

(on behalf of the Cambridge Apple Day team)

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A record breaking apple day

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Huge thanks to everyone who came along to Apple Day 2015 and helped make it such a fantastic day. Popular consensus is that it was the best ever and we broke all kinds of records:

Best scrump. Thanks to an awesome effort from our scrumping team, the tump was overflowing the day before Apple Day. We didn’t even need to send out a scrumping party on the day.

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More volunteers than ever. Our best estimate is that over 80 people took part in this year’s Cambridge Apple Day, including something like 30 kids. Incredible to think that so many people could fit in our house and garden. It wasn’t just the numbers though, this year everyone got involved in a great team effort.

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Most apple juice. Thanks to that amazing team effort, we created over 122 gallons of apple juice! Yes, you read that right. Over 122 gallons. Volunteers drank or took home 10 gallons of juice (not counting what the kids drank straight from the press), meaning that we have an amazing 112 gallons in fermenters brewing into cider. That’s almost 900 pints. 

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Earliest finish. Despite having the largest harvest ever, a combination of more volunteers, better kit, and process re-engineering (led by our new head of engineering Tom), meant that we finished earlier than ever. At 4 p.m. we did the last pressing and we were all cleaned up and stowed away in a couple of hours. Even Andy C did some work (although not too much).

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First experimental brew. In preparation for the Raspberry Pi Foundation birthday party in February, we’ve created our first ever “Raspberry Blush” cider. Basically we chucked a kilo of raspberries into the final press of the day. The juice tasted amazing, but we don’t know if it will translate into great cider. It’s a bit of an experiment, but if it works, we’re thinking of trying out a load of different fruit combos for next year.

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Special thanks to Jane and everyone else who once again provided a great lunch. Thanks also to our friends the Balzanos who provided the bread rolls and some child labour (like them on Facebook here – for the rolls not the child labour obvs).

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I’ve posted a selection of photos on facebook. Either visit the Cambridge Apple Day page (and remember to click Like) or follow this link: Cambridge Apple Day 2015 photos.

So that’s it for another year. We’re so grateful to everyone who came along. We love the apples, the juice, and the cider, but mostly we just love having an excuse to get together in the autumn sunshine and do something fun.

I’ll post some blogs to update on the cider making process over the next few weeks, and please don’t forget to come and pick up some cider.

Phil

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Last minute preparations

Apple Day is only two days away so time for the last-minute details.

Weather forecast is currently sunny, so should be another good one, no raincoats necessary! The tump is already brimming with some beautiful apples, we’re expecting lots of lovely juice this year. But, as always, the more the merrier so if you have a source of apples get picking and bring them along.

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As usual we’ll be starting around 10 a.m., aiming for the first pressing at around 11 a.m. There’s a lot of sterilising to be done in the early morning, so if want to help out with that, you’d be very welcome.

Lunch will be served at around 1 p.m.

We’ll carry on until the apples run out, which is usually about 5 p.m.  Remember we especially need volunteers at the end of the day to help clean up and we’ll keep some special treats back for those who do!

A couple of last minute tips:

1. Apples – there’s no such thing as too many apples so don’t give up on any last-minute scrumping!

2. Containers for juice – make sure you bring along a couple of clean bottles to take home some juice, e.g. old milk containers. Give them a good clean in hot soapy water and a rinse. The juice will last a couple of days in the fridge or can be frozen and enjoyed later.

3. If you can, bring some food – Jane is preparing overnight pork with apple sauce again, ideal when you’ve worked up an appetite pressing apples. The brilliant Balzano’s Delicatessen has donated the bread rolls again.  If you can bring some kid-friendly snacks or cake it would help a lot.  Extra points awarded for dishes involving apples.

We’ve got a couple of barrels of cider and a whole load of bottles from last year so that you can take some home with you.  All we ask in return is that you get involved and help make the day amazing for everyone.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday!

Jane, Phil and the Cambridge Apple Day crew.

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The tump is open!

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The 2015 tump is open and is starting to fill with apples! Dylan and Bethan are showing off the smallest and largest of the apples collected so far. The largest was mysteriously left on the lawn while we were out scrumping – was this perhaps the work of Philip McBrien?

The weather was perfect for apple collecting today. The sun was shining and the apples were abundant, if a little battered from the freak hail we had this summer. Fingers crossed the fair weather hold out for the next week.

What more inspiration do you need? Bring us yer apples!

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Apple Day: 4 October

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The date is set. This year’s apple day will be Sunday 4th October. As usual we’ve had to fit it in around a flurry of work travel, birthdays, other apples days and, this year, with added Rugby World Cup.

But we’re very much looking forward to it. It’s looking to be a great year for apples and the recently bottled cider is delicious (and not at all explosive).

It’s a little early to start collecting apples (they only tend to keep for about 2 weeks) so for now be on the look-out for apple-laden trees ready to scrump. We’ll build the apple tump in the next week or so. Watch this space.

Hope you can make it – drop us a line to let us know if you can come.

 

 

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