Apple juice from Ringden farm

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.

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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Nathan and Scott, from Ringden farm.

 


Visit us for more info at : www.finandfarm.co.uk

Apple juice from Ringden farm

Visit to Tibbs farm!

Morgane, our intern, is doing the rounds of visiting our customers and growers to get an idea of how food works in Sussex, from her Parisian point of view.  Here’s her first interview with Robert from Tibbs Farm, at Udimore, who grows our delicious summer fruit.

Morgane’s interview with Robert at Tibb’s Farm (June 2016)

Muir and I went to visit Tibbs farm, in Udimore, East Sussex. At the moment they are growing mainly strawberries and gooseberries but other summer fruit will come soon. They specialise in “pick your own fruits”.

We met Robert Wheeler there, owner of the farm. He showed us round his farm, where he grows all the delicious fruit bushes. I had the opportunity to interview him.

 

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Could you please tell me the story of your farm? And how did you become a farmer?

So I’m from a farming family going back a long time. We’ve been growing hops for six generations. So I’m a sixth generation hop grower, so that goes back to the 1790s. My immediate farming family also goes back a long time. My father came here in 1956 and this is where I work now. That’s how I became a farmer.

Why did you choose to follow the family path? Did you have the choice to do something else?

I certainly once had a choice. I went to university and could have got a job but farming is a way of life, isn’t it, so that is why I wanted to become a farmer.

What fruit do you produce?

Well we have strawberries, loganberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants and further on we grow raspberries as they’re quite popular fruits.  Later on, we also have blackberries.  We grow our fruit – on this sloping bank for drainage and easy access.

Do you have pickers to pick your fruits?

Yes, we have pickers in for that. We try not to waste any, that’s the point. Nobody likes waste, so we do pick quickly.  There are some fruits whose shelf-life is very short, like loganberries, and if you don’t pick them when they’re ready, after a day, they go mushy and juicy, and must be thrown away.

When do you grow?

We are now so used to seeing strawberries in shops all year around. You have them in glass- houses and you have them from South Africa or anywhere you like, they’re all coming but flavour is best when they are properly grown in season. So, you can have strawberries all year around. But the traditional way in this country; they start about June-July, and that is the peak season for strawberries.

And here, we grow them in the ground without cover, so we don’t force them to come early and we don’t try to make them come late.  We choose different varieties so the season can last as long as possible.

How do you treat your fruit?

We try to be as organic as possible. We just have to make sure we don’t have disease problems. There are aphids and other insects, but we live with them!

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Come and visit us and see our online shop at www.finandfarm.co.uk

Click on Delivery to see if you are in our delivery area.

If not, then hopefully at some point we can deliver to you!

Visit to Tibbs farm!