Apple Juice And Cider-Making Workshops

Tipping the pomace into the bladder press

Learn how to make your own delicious apple juice or cider.

Orchard Origins is running a number of workshops during the apple picking season on apple juice processing and cider-making.  The one-day introductory courses will take place at Houghton Court, a 200 acre working farm and Care farm, where we have helped plant an orchard of 250 mixed apple and pear varieties. It also where we have our fully-equipped Juicing Shed.

These are practical, hands-on courses that will teach you everything you need to know from tree to bottle.

At the end of the day you will take away your own blend of cider or juice to share with family and friends.

Apple Juice Processing Workshop 

Saturday 24 October 2015

Houghton Court, Hereford HR1 3HZ

10am to 4pm

£60/£50 Trust members

Cider Making Workshop

Saturday 21 November 2015 and Saturday 9 January 2016

Houghton Court, Hereford HR1 3HZ

10am to 4pm

£60/£50 Trust members

If you would like to get more details or book a place on a course please contact Julia Morton or Laurence Green on 01432 356872 or book online at

Apple Feast Or Apple Famine: The Problem Of Biennial Bearing

apples early stages

Does your apple or pear tree crop heavily one year and then produce little or nothing the next? This is not uncommon. It’s known as biennial bearing. Some cultivars have a natural tendency to this condition, such as the Blenheim Orange and Bramley’s Seedling, but weather conditions and soil fertility can also contribute to the problem.  Continue reading

A Quick Guide To Pollination


The apple trees are coming into blossom.  For orchard owners it can be a nerve-wracking time.  Apple trees only produce fruit if they have been properly pollinated.  Good weather is an important factor. Late frosts and high winds can  damage the blossom.  Most fruit trees are pollinated by insects, in particular bees and hoverflies. Bees tend not to venture out if it’s too cold, too windy or too wet.

But don’t despair, although poor weather can be a problem, it only requires two or three warm days while the tree is in blossom for the insects to start foraging and for  pollination to take place. Continue reading

Wildings: The Hedgerow’s Feral Apple Trees


Stroll along any countryside lane in the autumn and you will discover the hedgerows are full of wild apple trees – the progeny of discarded apple cores or an apple pip dispersed by an animal or bird. Known as wildings, they can also be evidence of a ‘lost’ orchard where a lone apple tree has survived and been incorporated into the hedgerow. Variable in size, texture and colour these accidental apple trees are often mistaken for crab apples, the original wild form of the tree. Continue reading

10 Tips For Successful Apple Storage


The apple harvest has begun in earnest.  At Orchard Origins, we pick on a Friday and then juice and bottle the following week. Some apple varieties will be stored for a few weeks before juicing to allow the flavour to develop fully.

If you have had a bounty of apples this year and are not planning to juice them, you are probably wondering how you can prevent your harvest from spoiling. One of the great benefits of apples over other orchard fruits is that stored correctly they can still be enjoyed well into the New Year. We are often asked about storing apples, so we felt it was worth re-posting this blog from last year. Here are our 10 tips for successful apple storage.

Continue reading

The Trouble With Triploids

IMG_1613 The Bramley crops well, but the other apple tree never produces a thing. This is not an uncommon complaint.  It’s usually the tree that has failed to fruit that is identified as the ‘problem’. In fact, the ‘culprit’ will almost certainly be the Bramley. Bramley’s Seedling is triploid. The trouble with triploids is they have no viable pollen and cannot be used to pollinate other apple trees.   Continue reading

Apple Juicing



Orchard Origins’ first apple juicing course was a huge success. The first half of the morning session focussed on the harvesting and storage of apples including the difference between ready to pick and ripe to eat.  Some apples – mostly early season varieties – are best picked and juiced on the same day.  Late season apples, such as the Bramley Seedling, benefit from storage to allow their more complex flavour to develop.

After coffee, Laurence Green Orchard Origins project manager,  conducted an apple tasting session in the orchard behind Lower House Farm. A bit like a wine tasting, apple tasting is an art that develops with practice.  Recognising the different layers of taste in an apple – sweet, sharp, bitter, sour and savoury –  is the key to producing a distinctive blend. A single variety juice can be delicious, but blending different apple cultivars will create a more complex juice with layers of flavour.

In the afternoon, the course moved on to the nuts and bolts of processing and juicing the apples.  Using  the hand scratter and press, five apple cultivars – Tom Putt, Tillington Court, King of the Pippins, Worcester Pearmain and Merton Worcester –  were juiced separately.  These were then mixed in different quantities and combinations until the group was happy with the flavour.  It was then back to the orchard to pick the apples for the final blend.  To juice a larger quantity of apples and speed up the whole process, the electric scratter and bladder press were used.

Finally, the juice was bottled, pasteurised and labelled. Everyone went home clutching bottles of Orchard Origins’ first Lower House Farm early season apple juice, a blend they had created themselves.

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Orchard Origins are running more apple pressing courses in the autumn as well as courses on cider-making. If you are interested, you can find out more here Apple Juicing and Cider-Making Courses.



Ready To Pick v Ripe To Eat


An orchard owner, whose apples we use for juicing, was perplexed as to why Orchard Origins’ apple juice tasted so much better than his own.  The apples, after all, were  the same variety; picked at roughly the same time and from the same orchard.  The answer was simple. He had pressed his apples the day after picking whereas Orchard Origins had stored the apples until January to allow the flavour to develop and as a result produced a far superior juice. Continue reading

Apple Juice and Cider Making Courses 2014/15



Orchard Origins is running a series of apple juice and cider making courses.

They are one day practical courses that will equip you with all you need to know to make your own delicious and unique apple juice or cider.

At the end of the day you will take away your own blend of cider or juice to share with family and friends.

The cost of the course is £50 and runs from 10a.m. till 4p.m.


Courses and Dates

Apple juice production:                       11th September and 2nd November 2014

Cider production:                                  13th and 23rd November 2014

Apple juice and cider production:     5th and 16th October 2014 and 24th January 2015



For bookings and further information please contact Julia or Laurence at or call 01432 356872