Drink up thee cider, drink up
thee cider, and tonight we'll merry
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, 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
Roger makes the
cider in a large barn at his home,
which has a press and fermentation
"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
"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
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
Last year was a good
year in cider making for Roger as
the sunny weather and reduced
rainfall gave plenty of sugar laden
"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
"I never get a
hangover because what you are
drinking - it's got no chemicals in
it like some other pints you may
"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
"I never get a cold
or get poorly.
"My father Leonard
is 91 and he enjoys a pint or two
"So what they say
about an apple a day, keeps the
doctor away must be true!"
Thanks To The Weston Mercury For
This is a short film made about Roger. Please watch and enjoy.
Anyone wanting to
sample Roger's cider for themselves
can go to
Farm, Mudgley, Wedmore,
to Saturday from 10am-8pm and on
Sundays from 10am-1pm. For more
Johnny Rotten Visits Roger Wilkins with a TV crew from Europe