As I sit writing this blog it’s 23 degrees in the shade, there’s a heady cocktail of damp Golden Retriever and fly spray in the air, and Glastonbury is playing loudly in the next room. There are three large bottles of gin sitting on the kitchen floor ready for the morellos and damsons in the garden to finish ripening, and a new tin of blackboard paint (because I can never find the one I bought last year) sitting on the worktop. Yep, even though it seems like New Year’s Eve was just a couple of months ago, the summer is upon us and we are about to enter our own festival season, and by the time we’re out the other end it’ll be late October and we will be gearing up for the run up to Christmas. A scary thought indeed! I’m exhausted already, though that could be the heat…
Hot on the heels of the Kent Show this month (which for me means a little ‘working holiday’ selling cherries in the National Fruit Show marquee) is the Cherry Fair at Brogdale, this year it’s on Sunday the 16th, so we’ll be stocking up on cherry liqueurs and wines, filling the shop with even more great gifts and books, and turning as much Woolly Pig as we can spare into cherry cider - served over ice it’s just the ticket on a hot and dusty festival day. I’ll be the one outside the shop, with severe sunburn on one side of my face (I can never get the parasol in the right place) chasing empty plastic glasses around the marketplace, with sticky feet because I tend to overfill the sample cups and slosh Neil’s award-winning ciders over them.
Mid-August sees Plum Day at Brogdale, not a major festival but a gentle celebration of the lovely stone fruits in the Collections – plums, gages, damsons, mirabelles and maybe even some early apples like Katy, Discovery and the rare and elusive Beauty of Bath. Then we’re gearing up for the big one; the annual Cider Festival, which takes place on the Saturday and Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend.
Now in its 18th year Brogdale’s is one of the biggest cider festivals in the UK, boasting some 50 – 60 different ciders. Up to a few years ago, the festival was basically 5 or 6 of us running from one end of the barn to the other along a long line of polypins, shouting tasting notes over the music and watching happily as the pile of empty barrels grew bigger and bigger. It’s a lot less hectic these days, being more of a family event and much more …er… refined! Back then our ciders and perrys were sourced from all over the UK, but these days there are well over 30 Kentish producers and the biggest of these bring along their own bars, meaning we can concentrate on Woolly Pig (the artisan cider we produce ourselves on site, hand-crafted in small batches using fruit from the Collection orchards) and ciders from a select bunch of other local artisan producers.
After the Cider Festival -and Pear Day in September - preparations get underway for the Apple Festival weekend in October. Then it’s full on to Christmas. Look out for details of our Christmas activities, festivals and events – this year’s should be the biggest and best ever.
For details of events and festivals, including special offers on tickets, check out our facebook pages for the Tiddly Pomme ,Woolly Pig cider & Brogdale Collections, and websites, www.brogdalecollections.org, www.tiddlypommeshop.co.uk, or pop in – we’re open every day, mostly from 10am (12 – 4 on Mondays, 10.30 – 4.30 Sundays).
Hope to see you soon!
Tel No: 01795 529100