Hernhill, Faversham, Kent: Introducing Hernhill Cider
Visited on: Friday 13th July 2018
Hernhill is a village between Faversham and Canterbury in Kent, not to be confused with Herne Hill in South London.
Peter and Rebecca of Hernhill Cider have just started producing cider commercially but have been making it for their own enjoyment for 15 years.
They bought the orchard next to their home 6 years ago from a neighbour, who has since sadly died. It has a mixture of apple, crab apple, pear and quince trees.
After a very pleasant walk around the orchard, we were shown the large shed where the cider is made. There is a double sink on one side; towards the front a home-made scratter to chomp up the apples into pieces prior to pressing and four maturing vessels towards the back.
In pride of place is the home-made press, mark 3, made from an old fork lift truck. Peter is an engineer by trade so this obviously played a part.
The cider is pressed by wrapping the apple pieces in cloths using 6 or 7 ‘cheeses’, in this case metal rectangles with holes, which fit inside each other and are pressed down by a jack to produce around 12 gallons a time.
Last year they made about 660 litres (approximately 1200 pints) of cider and have bottled 500 so far. Their cider is sold in 500ml bottles of Dry, Medium-dry, Medium and Rhubarb. All are 7.5% abv and bottle-conditioned.
There are a few pears in the ciders, plus a few quinces in the medium. The rhubarb is grown at the edge of the orchard and in their garden.
They certainly seem to be living the good life with half a dozen free range chickens completing the picture.
Update October 2018:
It was a reasonably good first summer for the business, having sold (or drunk) most of the cider that they made last year.
Brogdale cider festival was very good for them this year, and they have just signed up for a stall again next year. They hope to do more events, perhaps the hop festival next year. They also would like to supply some micropubs and beer festivals.
They have been busy pressing this Autumn, 1900 litres, with fruit from three different orchards - one in Dargate, one in Neames Forstall, as well as their own. With a good variety of apples including Discovery, Worcester, Cox, Bramley, Egremont Russet and crab apples - so it will be good stuff!
You can currently buy Hernhill cider at Tiddly Pomme, The Market Place, Brogdale, Faversham, Kent ME13 8XZ and the Red Lion, Crockham Lane, Hernhill, Faversham, Kent ME13 9TU.
It is also in MB Farm shops Faversham and Stockbury now.
See www.hernhillcider.co.uk for more information.