Thistly’s 2017 Apple Appeal is OPEN!

It’s that wonderful time of the year again when Scotland’s Original cider-maker, Thistly Cross announces its Apple Appeal, seeking to rediscover all abandoned, overlooked and neglected local Northern apple trees to put their fruit to good use. And what’s more, they’ll swap those donations, big or small, for real fruit cider or apple juice (around 7kg of apples usually equates to a bottle)!

In previous years, the “Bucket for a Bottle” scheme has resulted in hundreds of tonnes of apples. Thistly would love to top that with its 2017 #apples4cider campaign.

One of the things that make Thistly Cross Cider so unique is its blend of Scottish heritage apples, hand-pressed at their Cidershed in the heart of East Lothian; continuing a proud tradition of using apples grown across the country from a wide range of sources, including local schools, professional apple growers, estate and farm owners and the general public.

Peter Stuart, Head Cidermaker at Thistly Cross said: “The apple season is the most important time of year for Thistly. Despite frost resulting in devastating losses to European apple crops this Spring – as much as 40% in some countries – we’re lucky that the hardy Scottish apple thrives in poor weather, very much like our Scottish cider! So we’re hoping for a bumper crop in 2017.”

Based in the heart of East Lothian, Thistly Cross was established in 2008 as a collaboration between farmer, Ian Rennie, and artist-turned-cidermaker, Peter Stuart, and has rapidly gained a growing reputation for making ciders that people love.
Apple donations are welcomed at Thistly’s drop-off point: The Store, Belhaven Fruit Farm, Thistly Cross Roundabout, Dunbar, EH42 1ST just off the A1. It has a cafe & farm shop. Open 7 days a week (please avoid lunchtime if possible).

Follow Thistly’s #apples4cider campaign across social media.

cider-appeal-iconHere’s the science bit:

Which apple varieties are accepted? Thistly accepts most apple varieties (apart from crab apples – sorry!). Part of the reason that Thistly has such an authentic flavour is its unique blend of apple varieties. Thistly also accepts pears, providing these fit the same criteria.

How do I know if my apples are ripe? Very simply, healthy apples should drop to the ground of their own accord when ripe. However, the wind in Scotland makes this a little tricky to gauge, as big gusts can knock apples down too early. Once a few ripe, healthy apples have fallen to the ground, this is an indication that the rest of the apples are nearly ready for harvest. A ripe apple should come off the branch with ease, when twisted lightly. Once ripened, apples become slightly softer and sweeter.

What condition of apples does Thistly accept? Thistly needs good ingredients to make good cider – that means clean, sound, rot-free apples. It really is true that one rotten apple can ruin the barrel. The fruit is weighed and sorted on arrival, but it saves time if bad or heavily bruised apples are taken out beforehand.

How should I store my apples? Apples should be stored in a breathable container – paper bags, tattie sacks and crates all work perfectly for this. Please don’t store your apples in plastic bags as this causes them to sweat and rot.

When should I bring them? The short answer:as soon as possible after harvesting. The longer answer: this depends very much on the variety and condition of the apple. If you pick your apples directly from the tree, it’s best to get them to Thistly within one or two weeks of harvesting. As we are very busy during the harvest, Thistly can’t always process your apples in the same week that you drop them off, so it’s important that they’re fit to be stored for a few days.

Brilliant – my apples fit the criteria, what next? Please drop your apples off at The Store, Belhaven Fruit Farm and enjoy a cup of tea and look around the farm shop whilst you’re there. It is open from 10am to 4pm, seven days a week.

Note – obviously over-18s only for the cider swap

For any enquiries about apples, call Thistly on 01368 863246 or email us on info@thistlycrosscider.co.uk