In September last year, a call was put out to staff and volunteers to help pick the heavily laden apple trees in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. The idea, to use our own crop of apples to produce our very own Shakespeare Birthplace Trust apple juice.
After the beautiful summer weather of 2018, the day of the big harvest arrived and the weather was not at its best. The rain may have poured but the staff and volunteers still came out in force, donning their wet weather gear and wellington boots.
We were all issued with buckets and sent off to start collecting. As visitors arrived we became an extra tourist attraction, with many asking questions; what type are the apples and what are were going to do with them? The varieties were a real mix, predominantly Worcesters with some Cox's Orange Pippin and Bramleys, plus a few others thrown in for good measure.
Despite the harsh weather conditions the team worked hard. After a morning of very wet apple picking, the apples were transferred into three large crates on the back of the van and headed off to local Pershore College to be pressed into our juice.
Locally Pressed at Pershore College
Pershore College is a national centre for horticulture, situated on a 60-hectare site near Evesham and offers the very best in land-based learning, including a fruit unit with commercial juice production facilities.
At this fruit unit, Pershore College has produced apple juice for almost 26 years and now provides more than 40,000 bottles of cider, apple juice and perry to independent retailers every year. They are award winning and have had great success with their pear juice and organic cider.
After the apples are picked, they are washed and transported to the processing facility. The apples are then pressed, juiced right away to avoid spoilage, and then filtered. No sugar is added, so the individual characteristics of each apple variety dictates the degree of sweetness of the final product. The only additive used during the juicing process is Lascorbic acid (Vitamin C) which stops the juice from discolouring. The juice is pasteurised and bottled and then it’s ready for drinking. The final touch is to add the labels. Ours feature an illustration from William Lawson’s A New Orchard and Garden (1648) in the Trust’s collection.
Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who helped with the apple picking. We received our first bottles this week and we all agree it tastes great.
Our exclusive Shakespeare Birthplace Trust apple juice, is now available to buy from Anne Hathaway's shop and coming very soon to our cafes.