Morgane’s interview with Scott at Ringden Farm
During our visit to the Ringden farm – Hurst Green, East Sussex – Scott, who is working on the farm, answered a few questions.
Could you tell me the story of your farm? Why did you become a farmer?
Well I work in the family business, I am not one of the family. But it’s been a family business for over 50 years now and they were mainly just growing apples and pears but due to a violent hailstorm one year, they lost lots of their crops so they decided to branch out into making apple juice. Since then, they have won several awards, both for speciality fruits but also for individual juices themselves. They’re well known within the industry for their knowledge and we have over 48 varieties of apple juice so it’s one of the largest selections in the UK. We’ve also since branched out into doing small range of blended drinks.
To celebrate our 50th anniversary last year we introduced a range called “Bentley’s” which was named after the grandfather who actually bought the farm over 50 years ago. They’re all familiar apple juice–based drinks. We also produce drinks like lavender lemonade, elderflower and lime, and lemonade and lime.
The other products we have now, which we introduced last year, is an elderflower cordial, which is made using fresh elderflowers. Also we make a raw cider vinegar, which is unpasteurized. It has great health benefits.
Thank you! So how long have you been working on the farm?
About 5 years.
Where do you grow your fruit?
The majority of fruit is grown on the farm, but because they’re third generation here they know all the farmers around, we share unusual varieties with some neighbouring farms as well.
Thanks. What methods do you use to make an apple juice?
Basically, when the apples come in, they get hand picked from the trees and put into apple bins. Then they go to the press itself and the apples and any badly bruised apples will get taken out. All the apples are washed, then they go on to the belt where steel drums will actually squash them. The juice goes into stainless steel trays and then get put into big pads. After they have settled, the next day, after the settlement has fallen to the bottom the juice is bottled and pasteurised.
How many litres do you produce a year?
We produce 350 000 litres per year.
How many apples do you need for a bottle of apple juice?
About 8 apples. It depends on what apples as some are more juicy than others!
Do you grow anything else?
We grow a small amount of quince and some medlars. We also have some strawberries and gooseberries.
How do you treat your trees?
Minimally – we don’t overspray our trees. We sell what they call “ugly fruits”. It’s more natural and better for everyone.
Nathan and Scott, from Ringden farm.
Visit us for more info at : www.finandfarm.co.uk !