Monday 24 January 2011

Say cheese...

Whilst January slowly ticks away and the cider slowly bubbles away we have launched an 'annual' photography competition on the Cider Workshop for all the budding cider photographers on the group. The theme for this years competition is 'the Cider/Perry Season 2010' and entries are invited from all Cider Workshop members.

All details of the competition are found on, as is the link to the Cider Workshop group (should you have the best cider photo's but have yet to find your way to the Workshop!

I must admit to being rather too 'technical' in my photographs during last season. I don't believe that images of hydrometers floating in apple juice, individial varieties of apples sliced in two and used pomace sat around the base of trees is going to win over anyone but the most hardened of cider loons. And my best shots are from 2009 and probably already online somewhere... so I don't think I can cheat and get away with it (not that I would!!! ahem!)

The winner(s), as judged by professional photographer and Cider Workshop member Neil Phillips of Orchard Eye, will have a place on the home page of the group website for 12 months and we may even create a gallery on the website for the top 10 or so.

Happy snapping:-)

Thursday 13 January 2011

Southampton man gets visit from EHO... And lives!

I had anticipated the latest visit by Southampton’s finest to be a bit of a challenge – the proper thing this time. I had previously written up a HACCP plan to identify parts of the business that we a ‘risk’, and also made sure that I had a copy of the NACM guidelines – to which I adhere to (as far as it is applicable).

So, the Environmental Health man came to see me and was really very human indeed. None of the anticipated “you need to do this, this and this”, no pound symbols came rushing past my eyes and not even a glimmer of the vast amounts of paperwork I had expected!

OK. In reality I have to write up a bit more ‘meat’ on the HACCP, and need to think about adopting a tracking document for the cleaning process... but this is more common sense than red-tape, and I had been doing something kind of a bit like it before. And, of course, I will need to wait for the letter that is bound to turn up sooner or later. But I don’t have that sense of foreboding that I have seen from others around the country!

As the winter progresses and the cider simply ‘does its stuff’, 146 Cider has been improving things to make 2011 easier to manage. A new ‘super’ hydrometer has been purchased – a foot long (thanks for the recommendation Mark Shirley of Rockingham Forest Cider)... OK, I did have a really useful (but slightly smaller) hydrometer but managed to smash it. I wish they were a bit more robust:-( A new scale is on order for the bag in boxes – no, its not that things have been any less accurate in 2010... its just that this one is designed for the boxes so should make things a lot quicker (once I have got Trading Standards to stamp it!!) Finally, I am waiting to get the 2011 labels test sheet. All very exciting.

So, how is the cider coming along? Very nicely, thank you very much for asking!