Apple appeal by Sussex cider makers

17th September

For the third year running, award-winning Framfield based cidery Bignose & Beardy has launched its ‘Apple Appeal’ asking the local communities in Sussex with apple trees or orchards to donate any surplus fruit – dessert or cookers – for this year’s cider.

Over the past two years, 18 tons of Sussex 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.

Bignose and Beardy

Steve commented: “A few years ago we planted a few apple trees and grew a community. The direct relationships we have with our apple growers as well as sustainability is at the core of all we do. People love the idea of their apples being picked, pressed and bottled for cider rather than see fruit go to waste. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have apples to donate. We will take any variety, even if they are a little bruised, but not rotten. We produce Sussex cider, so the apples must be from Sussex. We have apple sacks available at the cidery if need be. Everybody who donates a large bag of apples receives a free bottle of Bignose and Beardy cider in return.”

Now in its sixth year of production, Bignose & Beardy is receiving acclaim within the UK craft cider industry, with pubs and independent bottle shops and delis across the UK stocking this quirky brand that is helping put Sussex back on the cider map. Its Cider Club that is a monthly subscription box is also going from strength-to-strength.

Bignose and Beardy were last year’s winners of a Sussex Life Award in the ‘Food and Drink Product’ category as well as winners of a Muddy Stilettos Sussex award in ‘Best Local Producer (Food/Drink). They were also finalists in this year’s Sussex Food and Drink Awards. They are also regional finalists in the Rural Business Awards in ‘Best Rural Food and Drink Business’ category as well as being shortlisted for ‘Best Rural Diversification Project’. Winners of these awards will be announced at Canterbury Lodge on the 18th October.

This year’s community apple picking days will be taking place on 22 September (orchards in Framfield, Blackboys, Crowborough), 29 September (Horsted Keynes in the morning and Horam in the afternoon) and 13 October (High Hurstwood).

For more information on how to get involved in the community apple picking days and to find out the address to drop apples off at, please visit the Bignose and Beardy website – www.bignoseandbeardy.com.