"Cider has been made in England since ancient times, the skills to make it brought here with the Norman invasion. The terroir, the ecology and climate around Kingsbury Episcopi and Burrow Hill lends themselves so naturally to fermenting apples"
It has long been recognised that England has three 'vintage' cider apple areas where the soil and climate creates apples of a superior quality. The terroir of the orchards around the farm is recognised as one of these three unrivalled vintage areas. The other two areas, Wedmore and Baltonsborough are also in Somerset – the heart of the England's artisan cider world.
Apples are the starting point for both our cider and our Somerset Cider Brandy and at Burrow Hill, we believe it is vital to know their origins. All the apples we ferment come from Somerset, the majority from our own orchards. We grow more than 40 varieties of vintage cider apples such as Brown Snout, Stoke Red, Harry Masters and the legendary Kingston Black.
We grow standard rather than intensive bush orchards. We also grow old varieties known for their unique qualities and superior tastes. These often produce unreliable crops and are therefore unviable for industrial cider production.
The art of blending different types of fruit is key to the craft of cider making and distilling. At Burrow Hill, this is the responsibility of Tim Stoddart and Julian Temperley who between them have over 60 years experience of making cider.
Slow Food and the Environment
We never use pesticides which means we produce smaller and tastier apples than those grown in orchards meant for industrial cider. In order to protect the local bee population we also create bee hotels around our orchards and plant borders with the bees’ favourite foods. Instead of mowers we use sheep, which graze our orchards until the apples start to fall in the autumn.
In 2003 The Somerset Cider Brandy company became part of the Slow Food Movement. This recognises our commitment to our unique environment. In our view this is more relevant to our artisan production than the current organic verification system, which has not evolved to meet new challenges and does not take into account the carbon cost of foods.