Ostlers is a family run cider mill and is one of only a few traditional cider orchards left in Devon that grows and hand picks its own apples on site in order to make cider and vinegar.
The history of Ostler Cider Mill.
Peter Hartnoll bought the land in Goodleigh in 1990 he planted approx. 4 acres with half standard cider apple trees - he chose Mitchelins, Browns and Debretts, which are a good combination of apple types to make a good cider. After planting the trees he then had to leave them to grow, his trees started fruiting after 5/6 years.
It started off as just a Cider Mill, but due to an accident when a lid came off one of the tanks it made vinegar. At this point he was in a wheelchair and taking quite a few painkillers for arthritis. A friend told him that it was a lucky accident because cider vinegar was an old Roman remedy for the complaint, so he started to take the vinegar, in a few weeks he was off his painkillers and within a month to 6 weeks he was out of his chair.
In 2009 running a busy Cider Mill on his own got a little much for Peter and he decided it was time to get help. His daughter, Becci and her 2 children moved over from Wales, to give him a helping hand, she is now a partner with her father and living at the mill, while Peter has moved to Bideford to enjoy a well deserved retirement.
Now and the future of Ostlers Cider Mill
Ostlers is one of the few orchards where the whole process is done naturally, It takes 1 year to make cider, and then a further 3 years to make the vinegar, it is a continual tasting and blending, checking how the fermentation is, if its finished, some tanks ferment earlier and some later.
Our apple cider vinegar is unpasteurised and raw. Non-pasteurised is literally alive. It is cloudy as it has the 'mother' in it. Many people believe that an unpasteurised Cider Vinegar has health giving properties. Pasteurised vinegar is typically clear, which means it has been boiled.
Ostlers now has a very busy online presence with a large website, Ebay shop and large volumes being sold through Amazon. We have also moved into the wholesale market with distributes based throughout the U.K.
In the past years Ostlers Cider Mill has won ‘Best of Sauces and Accompliments 2012’ at “Taste of the West”, along with winning Gold in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. We have put our success in the Cider Vinegar down to an old family recipe and a special blend of Devonshire apples. Due to a popular demand and a rapidly increasing turnover we are now focusing on the production side and have doubled the amount produced at Ostlers Cider Mill within the last couple of years.
In 2013 we converted our orchards to organic status using 'Organic Farmers and Growers'.
The orchard is full of wildlife, we also have 4 acres dedicated to wildlife, 2 acres of ancient woodland and 2 of steep meadow which is perfect for bees and other insects.
Its upwards and onwards for our little apple orchard!
For any more details of questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.