Cider with Roger

Roger wilkins Cider Jugs

Drink up thee cider, drink up thee cider, and tonight we'll merry be...

From The Wurzels to the Women's Institute, everyone likes a drop of Somerset's own appleade every now and again, and none more than local cider farmer Roger Wilkins

.

Roger, aged 61, has been cider making since he was a boy, taught the skills of the ancient art by his grandfather.

The business was passed onto Roger through the family and now he produces around 15,000 gallons each year at his home at Landsend Farm, Mudgley, near Wedmore.

Roger, who is married to Mary and has three grown-up children, said: "Many years ago, cider was made at nearly every farm in the area.

"But over the years the number of cider makers has died down and now there are only a few farms producing it.

"When my grandfather started making cider, he was producing about 3,000 gallons a year."

Roger makes the cider in a large barn at his home, which has a press and fermentation containers.

"When I took over the business, at one time I was producing 50,000 gallons a year.

"But now the breweries have stopped selling real cider, my output has gone down to about 15,000 gallons a year.

"However, on saying that, more recently there has been an increase in the younger generation drinking farm cider, so perhaps they have got fed up with alcopops and cider is making a bit of a comeback."

Roger, who also farms beef cattle, has five acres of orchards where he grows his own cider apples.

"I have about 300 trees, but also buy in apples from other farmers," said Roger.

"It's important to get a good mix of apples, a blend of bitter sweets and bitter sharps to get an all round good flavour."

Around one tonne of apples usually makes around 160 gallons of cider.

And Roger picks all his apples from his orchard by hand, ensuring the pick of the crop.

"It's a big job, but I suppose it keeps me out of mischief,"he jokes.

Once collected, the apples are put into a hydraulic press where they are crushed to get out the apple juice.

They are then put into large containers to ferment before being pumped into wooden barrels to be sold.

He said: "I don't put in water or sugar. I let my cider ferment with its own natural yeast. It is totally natural."

People come from across the whole country to sample Roger's cider, which sells at just 1 a litre, or about 56p a pint.

"Some people have been buying their cider from our family for more than 30 years," he said.

Last year was a good year in cider making for Roger as the sunny weather and reduced rainfall gave plenty of sugar laden apples.

"The more sugar in the fruit, the higher the alcohol content will be.

"Normally our cider comes out at about six or seven per cent strength, but when the apples are sweeter, it can be higher."

And of course, the most important part of making cider is sampling the goods.

"I used to drink around 16 pints a day, but now I have cut down to around four," said Roger.

"I never get a hangover because what you are drinking - it's got no chemicals in it like some other pints you may drink.

"I truly believe cider is good for you - after all, it's never done me any harm, I've been drinking it since I was about six.

"I never get a cold or get poorly.

"My father Leonard is 91 and he enjoys a pint or two every day!

"So what they say about an apple a day, keeps the doctor away must be true!"

Thanks To The Weston Mercury For This Information.

This is a short film made about Roger. Please watch and enjoy.

 

Anyone wanting to sample Roger's cider for themselves can go to

 Landsend Farm, Mudgley, Wedmore,

 Monday to Saturday from 10am-8pm and on Sundays from 10am-1pm. For more information contact
 01934 712385.

 

Here is a few Youtube videos that you can enjoy.

Some are from the TV and some have been filmed by Rogers customers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nice little song by The beagles

 

 

 

Roger is country's new cider king

 

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