Two days to go!

So Flamsteed Road’s 4th Apple Day is almost upon us. The apple pile is starting to look more respectable. Looks like the weather is going to hold up too – forcast is 10C and sunny. Perfect apple day weather.

So the format will be much like past years: we’ll start at about 10am, aiming for the first pressing at around 11am. Lunch will be served at around 1pm. We’ll carry on until the apples run out, usually around 5pm. As usual, a few 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 amd a rinse. The juice will last about 4 days in the fridge after which it will start fermenting. It can be frozen and enjoyed later.

3. If you want to make some cider, you can – it’s easier than you think. We’ve got some spare kit here we can lend you if you want to give it a go. Explosive events are rare. Honest.

4. If you can, bring some food – I will be making the traditional hog roast (a special thanks to Balzano’s Delicatessen for donating the bread rolls again), but if you can bring some kid-friendly snacks or cake along it would help a lot. Extra points awarded for dishes involving apples.

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Mysterious box of apples

Photo: A mysterious box of apples has appeared this evening... Could this be the work of Cambridge 28th Scouts?

This mysterious box of apples appeared this evening.  Could it be the work of the Cambridge 28th Scouts?  Whoever is responsible, we thank you.

Progress is unusually slow on filling the tump this year.  Such a bad harvest.  There’s loads of unloved apples out there, so let’s give it one final push before the big day.

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Apple Day is coming

Photo: We got some apples.  'twas a good weekend's scrumping.

The tump is starting to look more respectable now – not least thanks to a sterling scrumping effort (again) from Phil McBrien on Sunday and a brilliant haul from the Sutton clan.  This is a picture of the wonderful Bethan who is very pleased with the sudden arrival of a tonne of apples in the garden.

Sunday isn’t very far away, but there’s plenty of time for a last minute scrump.  We need some more varieties if we’re going to create cider as delicious as last year’s batch (which is being heralded as a classic).  Remember, we can take eaters, cider apples, cookers and crabs.  It’s all about the mix.

If you haven’t already, then let us know if you’re coming.  Jane will be making the legendary hog roast and we need to get an idea of how many to cater for.  Please bring a dish to share if you can.  We’ll have the usual competition for the best and most inventive apple related dish.

BBC Weather forecast is predicting rain on Saturday, but dry on Sunday.  Sorry to say that no sign of a re-run of last year’s heatwave though.  Whatever the weather, we’ll have lots of apple juice, cider and great company to enjoy.

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More apples please

A great day scrumping today. After a false start with one heavily laden tree that we were denied access to, our friends at the Newnham Model Railway came up trumps again. We managed to fill about five sacks from their beautiful trees and left a goodly quantity of cider behind for the guys to enjoy.

We’re also hoping that our friends at Cambridge 28th Scouts will be gathering some apples for us this week.  Obviously, the scouts will be paid in juice not cider!  This could be an exciting new partnership between Cambridge Apple Day and the scouts.  Other troops take note.

We’re still in need though.  It’s been such a tough year for apples that many of our best regular scrumps are completely bare.  With only a week to go, it’s looking a bit worrying and we need every lead that we can get.

We’re not short of volunteers up for a bit of scrumping, so please let us know of any trees with fruit that is likely to be going to waste.  We can turn them into apple juice and delicious cider.

More details of the Apple Day itself on the blog over the next few days. Don’t forget to let us know if you’re planning on coming along.

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Time to start scrumping

Only two weeks to go until Cambridge Apple Day and it’s time to start scrumping.  The tump opened this weekend and Dylan (as birthday boy) had the honour of putting the first apple in.

Here are some rules for scrumping:

1. Make sure you ask permission, but don’t be afraid to ask.  Most people don’t make good use of their apples and will thank you for saving them the chore of filling the green bin.  If you see a tree in someone’s garden, knock on the door and ask.  If you know of somewhere with a particularly big haul, then why not organise a scrumping party to join you?   

2. Variety is really important, but let’s stick to apples.  Our method of cider making relies on getting a great mix of different types of apple: eaters, cookers, crabs, so try to scrump a couple of trees at least.  We don’t use pears or other fruit, but feel free to bring some for snacking.

3. Leave them on the trees as long as you can, but collect the windfalls regularly.  Chuck out anything with mould and don’t pick from orchards with livestock.  Feel free to drop them round to Phil and Jane’s house if you can’t store them until the big day – the tump is ready and waiting.  If storing yourself, then keep them dry and well aired.  Storing apples for a couple of weeks isn’t too much hassle.  A hessian sack in a shed works well.

This year has been a tough one for all kinds of fruit and the apple crop is very weak.  It shouldn’t be a problem though.  Cambridge is full of apple trees and sadly far too few of them get used.  Get out there and get scrumping!

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Apple Day 2012: Sunday 14 October









After much procrastination and deliberation, I am pleased to announce that the 2012 Cambridge Apple Day will take place on Sunday 14 October at the usual venue (Jane and Phil’s back garden).

It’s a radical departure from our usual date of the first Saturday of October and we apologise to anyone who’s already made plans thinking we’d do the same this year.  Jane and I are both overseas with work a lot this autumn and this is pretty much the only day that we can make work for us.

We’ll need to rely on our faithful band of volunteers even more than usual, particularly for the scrumping, as we won’t be around the week leading up to the big day.

On the plus side, there’s loads of cider left over from last year’s bumper harvest and none of it has exploded.  So everyone who comes and helps out will be rewarded with lots of delicious cider and apple juice.

So what can you do to help?  Start spotting those apples and get your scrumping privileges sorted now.  It’s been a mixed year for the apple harvest, so we’ll need to work extra hard to get the crop in.

Don’t bag any windfalls yet – unless you can store them at home.  We’ll open the tump in the back garden on Saturday 29th September, giving you a whole two weeks to fill it up before the day.

Let us know if you’re coming and whether you’ll be able to bring some apples (what kind and how many would be useful too).

Apologies to the many people who’ve asked, but the Cambridge Apple Day is still an invite only affair.  We might open it up to the public one day soon, but for now it’s only for neighbours, friends and family.  Drop me (Phil) an email if you want an invite.

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Apple Day 2011

Huge thanks to everyone who turned out for Cambridge Apple Day – without a doubt the most successful that we’ve had so far.   It was a great event with lots of old hands and newbies all getting involved. As ever, the children did most of the real work (albeit under expert adult supervision at all times, honest).

The weather was incredible – 28 degrees in October – and the food was fantastic again.  Special thanks to Jane for the hog roast and everyone else who brought along a dish.  We all agreed that the cider made from last year’s apple day was some of the best we’ve ever tasted – both in the barrel and (for those that stayed to the end) the champagne cyder.  There’s still some bottles from last year left, so volunteers should give me a shout if you want to collect some.

Delighted to report that the new press worked a treat.  In total we reckon we produced over 70 gallons of juice, quite a lot of which was guzzled by the kids, but some of which is now busily fermenting away.  We want to avoid the “unexpectedly bursting bottles” problem that Stella Artois shared with us last year, so I’ve taken gravity readings with my trusty hydrometer.  For the geeks: the ten fermenters vary in gravity from 1044 to 1054.

Photos have been posted on the Cambridge Apple Day facebook page while those without facebook accounts can see them here.

Thanks again everyone.  We’ll update the blog as the cider making process progresses.


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