Can you help?
As award winning Framfield based cidery, Bignose & Beardy launches its annual ‘Apple Appeal (13th September to 23rd October) there is a special urgency as apple crops are failing across Sussex.
“Where did all the apples go?” asks Steve Rabson Stark (Beardy). “Three of our regular donor orchards supply around half of our fruit but they have almost no apples this year. We are used to individual trees having rest years and occasionally a frost will knock out a whole orchard, but we’ve never seen such a widespread failure of the crop. It’s a bad year for apples in Sussex, we are going to be relying on the apple appeal more than ever this year.”
Every year Bignose and Beardy ask the local community with apple trees or orchards to donate any surplus fruit – dessert or cookers – apples or pears – in exchange for award-winning vintage cider.
Over the past two years, 28 tons of apples have been sourced this way, helping founders Steve Rabson Stark (Beardy) and Phil Day (Bignose) fulfil the small batch cidery’s production of 7,000 litres per year.
Apples are also harvested at special apple picking days at local orchards, hosted by Steve and Phil, who bring together volunteers wanting to be part of the Bignose & Beardy cider making experience. Those community events are at risk this year.
Phil (Bignose) commented “We are worried, covid wasn’t great: we weren’t able to do our orchard-blessing Wassail last winter and now this. We really want to restart our community picking days, but we can’t go to our usual orchards. It’s ironic, last year we had so many offers to pick, we couldn’t get to everyone. We are now ringing round to see who has got apples. Some trees will be fine, they are just a bit harder to find. Anyone who does have a surplus crop and would like to swap apples for cider, we’d really like to hear from you. We really need every apple we can get our hands on this year.”
If you have spare apples or pears that would otherwise go to waste you can take them to the cidery in Framfield. Apple sacks are available and everybody who donates receives a free bottle of Bignose & Beardy cider for every full sack in return.