We're off to Taste of the west awards in September!!!! our apple cider vinegar has been chosen as a finalist in its category Sauces & Accompaniments!! It's a real honour. Thank you.
Celebrations here again!! Our 7th Gold in a row at Taste of the West!!
Organic inspection with @organicfarmers went really well. We now have our Processing certificate as well.
Exmoor Border Morris taking part in wassailing at Ostlers Cider Mill near Goodleigh. Picture: Seth Conway
Orchards across North Devon have been performing the traditional wassail ceremony carried out in the first few weeks of January.
At Ostlers Cider Mill near Goodleigh around 100 people turned out to celebrate the centuries old event.
“Years ago this meant so much to people,” said Becci Paterson, Ostlers Cider Mill, “we love to get the community together and enjoy wassailing.
“The trees have been asleep for the winter and we wake them up as well as warding off the evil spirits by banging and crashing and making lots of noise.
Rev Nixie James-Scott performed the ceremony at the Ostlers Cider Mill wassailing. Picture: Seth Conway
“The hope is that by toasting a great harvest in the coming autumn we will get a bumper crop of apples in the year ahead.”
The ceremony involves placing a piece of toast doused in cider from the previous year’s crop onto the tree. A wassail queen or princess may carry out this role or place a garland of flowers on to a branch as well.
Wassailers make plenty of noise during parts of the ceremony and a shotgun may be fired to scare away any evil spirits.
Sometimes cider is also poured around the base of the tree. Traditional songs and poems are read and folk dances performed.
Toast doused in cider is placed on the tree during the wassailing ceremony. Picture: Seth Conway
Ostlers’ orchards produce apples to make scrumpy but mostly cider vinegar and the local firm has won countless awards for its products.
As well as being used in cooking, cider vinegar is extremely popular in health food shops as it is seen as providing many health benefits.
The family-run firm puts its success down to beautiful Devonshire apples and an old family recipe. But the wassail is all part of the life of the orchard.
The ancient ceremony was led by Reverend Nixie James-Scott, who said: “I think it’s just wonderful to connect with the land, to connect with nature and the seasons are so important. To think that now we’re waking up the trees for the harvest in the autumn is wonderful, it’s the cycle of life.”
Whilst on my tour of North Devon, I thought it would be rude not to try a traditional scrumpy cider. As they say, when in Devon, do as the Devonians do! Luckily for me, a friend had recently told me about the Ostlers Cider Mill and the tasty tipple that comes from a gorgeous valley in the heart of the countryside. I promptly arranged a visit to the rural farm, and spent a glorious day with Becci, the owner, learning about the processes involved and the incredible drink and vinegar made on the site.
The cider farm is no commercial enterprise, instead, it is a humble and understated haven. The drive there alone is enough to captivate you. As you follow a bumpy and winding country lane, the hedges bursting with wild flowers and fields full of cattle, you will end up surrounded by the stunning orchard, barrels of cider and vinegar and various pieces of equipment. The mill is family run, in the sense that it is quite literally the core members of the family that are the driving force, the life and the breath of the daily functions, which nowadays is quite rare. With their family home situated in the heart of the orchard, they live through all seasons, surround by the apple trees, animals and rolling landscape. The farm has been in the family since 1990, with the original aim being to produce a traditional Devonshire Scrumpy, it wasn’t until a lid of one of the tanks accidentally came off that the mill diversified and begun producing the award-winning vinegar, that is still produced today, the tried and tested recipe hasn’t changed in all those years and still delivers a punchy, raw, healthy and addictive vinegar.
The cider vinegar is made using a completely natural process, ensuring that all the goodness from the raw ingredients are maintained and bottled for your benefit. The cider vinegar has won the prestigious Taste the West Award for six years in a row which is an astonishing recognition for the flavour and quality of the vinegar. The Taste of the West promote and find the cream of the crop from the region, the label and the award indicates the best of the best food and drink from the area, highlighting the passionate and dedicated producers.
I visited the orchard on a warm summers evening and had the opportunity to wander through the apple trees whilst relishing the sunshine. The farm has been organic since 2013, and the resident grass cutters (see the picture below) joined me for a stroll. The wildlife is plentiful in the magnificent valley, with butterflies floating in the breeze and colourful flowers growing around the trees.
The mother is the gold within each bottle, now, although it doesn’t look overly appealing, it is where all natures goodness is held, each inch of the unusual goo is packed full of health boosting bacteria, that your body will be thankful for. The mother is only found in unrefined and unpasteurised vinegars, and Ostlers Cider Vinegar has a generous portion of it in each bottle. The incredible natural remedy has a range of benefits, including promoting a healthy digestion, supporting regularity, limiting toxins in the body, restoring the body’s natural balance, promoting healthy hair and much, much more!
Now, you don’t get organic vinegar or cider by using a petrol-powered machine to harvest the fruit. Each apple has been hand-picked in the unpredictable UK weather, whether the bright sunshine is beaming down or the diagonal and relentless rain is creating streams in the orchard, the local pickers will be there rain or shine. Before the apples can be collected, each must have dropped from the tree, rather than clambering up the trunk to pick them while they are still hanging on to the stem. Many pickers, will sit on the floor with a large bag and shuffle along as they collect the precious fruits. Once each apple has been gathered, the pressing and fermenting process can begin. It takes one year to make the cider and three years to make the vinegar, after this time has passed, the incredible liquid is ready to be bottled. You may not appreciate the hard work that goes into the bottle from looking at it, but not only is each apple hand-picked, every single bottle to come from the farm has been hand-poured, hand-labelled and individually quality checked, at times there are up to four labels per bottle, if that isn’t love and dedication for a product, I don’t know what is! The farm isn’t glorified, it is rustic, it purely focuses on the incredible product that mother nature provides, with no nasty added ingredients. In each bottle is the goodness in its purest form, so that you can enjoy and benefit from the rawest fruits of the labour.
Wassailing is a celebration that dates to pagan times and is still popular amongst cider drinkers today. The ancient English tradition involves singing and blessing the orchard to keep away any evil spirits and ensure a healthy and plentiful harvest. During the festivity and the procession, which is led by the wassail king or queen, the cider will be flowing and the dance floor will be alive. The wassail takes place once a year at Ostlers Cider Farm, where all are invited to join in with the fun and spend the evening enjoying the Scrumpy, beautiful location, music and company.
February 2, 2018
Apple cider vinegar is a hot topic in the wellness industry at the moment. I saw a bottle of Ostler’s cloudy cider vinegar in my local store and decided to give it a try.
Unlike other apple cider vinegars, you might have seen in the shops, this one contains the “mother” which is the cloudy substance that shows that the enzymes and nutrients from the apples have not been destroyed through over-processing. Some people believe that the “mother” is responsible for the health benefits, but there is no hard evidence to support this.
Ostler’s apple cider vinegar is organic and has won multiple food and environmental awards. It has a very distinct flavour and I have used it in salad dressing several times and received many compliments on the refreshing but punchy taste.
Some people like to dilute apple cider vinegar in water and drink it, because it has been linked to all sorts of health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved diabetes symptoms.
Elevated blood sugar levels are a problem for people with diabetes, so they can really benefit from anything that can keep blood sugar levels stable. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity during a high carb meal and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals (1, 2).
Given that vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it may also be helpful for weight loss. Indeed, several studies in humans have suggested that vinegar can increase satiety helping you to eat fewer calories (3). Vinegar consumption may also lead to reduced body fat and lower triglyceride levels (4), however, it is important to bear in mind that in this study patients were consuming 30ml of vinegar a day for 12 weeks!
As a nutritional therapist, I don’t advocate relying on one particular food to improve your health. A balanced approach is recommended, however what is clear is that apple cider vinegar may certainly be useful as a weight loss aid by increasing feelings of fullness.
Apple cider vinegar appears to be safe and healthy, and no side effects are associated with normal consumption. It should not be relied on as a miracle product but can be incorporated into a healthy diet plan in order to help with blood sugar and weight control.
(1) Johnston, C.S., et al. (2004). Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 27:1, Jan 2004.
(2) Johnston, C.S., et al. (2010). Examination of the antiglycemic properties of vinegar in healthy adults. Ann Nutr Metab, 2010:56(1), 74-98.
(3) Östman, E., et al. (2005). Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 59(9), 983–988.
(4) Kondo, T., et al. (2009). Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 73(8), 1837–1843.
Cider Mill, has won a Green Apple
Environment Award in the international campaign to find the greenest
companies, councils and communities.
They competed against more than 500 other nominations in the Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice, and they will be presented with their trophy and certificate at a glittering presentation ceremony in the Houses of Parliament, London on Monday, November 16.
As a result of this Green Apple Award success, they have been invited to have their winning paper published in The Green Book, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, so that others around the world can follow their example and learn from their achievement.
They could also progress to represent their country in the Green World Awards, and the European Business Awards for the Environment.
The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the country’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries.
The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.
Green Apple Awards are supported by the Environment Agency, the
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered
Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.
More information on the Green Apple Awards can be found here.
“It is an honour for myself and all the staff at Ostlers Cider Mill to receive the Green Apple Award for doing a job in the manner we all love.
Winning the Best Environmental Practise award is great recognition for all the hard work, effort and ideas, that my staff and I have put into the company to make our practise as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible.
It gives us such pleasure to receive such awards but we get our main job satisfaction from the amazing feedback from our customers on how we have helped them with the products we produce.
have so many plans for the future and it's these achievements that
spur us on even more.”
Rebekah Paterson – Co owner of Ostlers Cider Mill
It's all celebrations at Ostler Cider Mill, as the Cloudy Apple Cider Vinegar wins GOLD at the 2015 Taste of the West.
The Cloudy Apple Cider won the GOLD award within the 'Sauces and Accompaniments' category.
Rebekah - Co Owner is "We are very honored to receive this award from Taste of the West, it's great to receive the award for the forth year in a row, which shows the high quality and consistency of our product"
The Taste of the West Awards programme has been promoting and supporting the South West food and drink industry for two decades and 2015 promises to be one of the most exciting years yet, following the incredible success of 2014 when over 1,000 products and 300 establishments were judged.
North Devon Journal Coverage
OSTLERS Cider Mill held its annual wassail at its orchard near Goodleigh in Januray 2015. Wassailing is an ancient custom where the orchard trees are blessed so they give a good crop later in the year.
Scrumpy time: Pickers gather the years cider apples during harvest at Ostler's cider Mill, one of only a handful of traditional cider orchards left in Devon. This year has seen their sales increase over twofold as Nationwide cider demand is on the up again. Harvest time for cider fruit is roughly from September to November and by October most of the fruit has fallen to the ground ready to be picked.
Westcountry food photographer Guy Harrop has scooped a first prize in an International food photography competition. Guy was the winner in the ‘Food and its Place’ category in the ‘Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2013’ competition for his image called ‘Scrumpy Time’ taken at a North Devon cider orchard during harvest. The International competition, in its second year attracted over 5500 images from around the world.
Guy received his award from chairman of the judges, journalist and food critic, Jay Rayner at a packed champagne reception in the London.
Said Guy,” Last year I had two entries in this category and came second, so to actually win first prize in a category this year is fantastic. My food photography is really one of my passions and during this last year I have been very busy shooting new work for restaurants, luxury hotels, food producers and food publishers.
I think where I live is also very beneficial to my food photographs, as Devon and Cornwall have such a really diverse range of food producers from chocolates and cheese to meat and fish. I grew up in a hotel and was always around cooking as a child, so food and photography really does tick all the boxes.”
Guy’s work is regularly published both Nationally and Internationally in magazines, newspapers and books.
Guy can be contacted at www.guyharrop.com or on 01271 850317From l-r (Celebrity chef, food critic and judge Jay Rayner, International food photographer Guy Harrop, Andy Macdonald, Managing Director of Coregeo UK, the Master Licensor of Pink Lady® In the UK)