A commitment to using unsprayed Gloucestershire fruit from heritage orchards and gardens gives these traditionally made ciders a refreshing, light taste with extra feel-good factor. David Lindgren explains how sustainability and cider-making go hand in hand at Bushel+Peck
HOW DID BUSHEL+PECK COME ABOUT?
Traditional orchards used to be a far more prevalent sight in Gloucestershire than they are now – cheaper imported fruit pushed local varieties off the shelves and our orchards disappeared as a result. Having worked in the commercial drinks industry for 30 years, I decided it was time to bring my focus closer to home, to make use of the fruit we do still grow in Gloucestershire and make a contribution to conserving our orchards and fruit growing traditions.
WHAT IS YOUR USP?
I think the unique thing about Bushel+Peck is the provenance of our fruit. We use only unsprayed fruit from Gloucestershire, using surplus apples and perry pears from people’s gardens. They give me the fruit and I give them free juice, cider or perry in return. It’s a sustainable way of using fruit that would otherwise be wasted (always remembering that some windfalls should be left for the birds). I also harvest apples from several traditional and heritage orchards across Gloucestershire. Traditional unsprayed orchards are havens of biodiversity so anything that contributes to the conservation of orchards in Gloucestershire is important.
WHAT APPLES DO YOU USE?
In simple terms, whatever is available – we try not to turn away any apples we’re offered. Last autumn we used over 30 different varieties of apples and pears to make our cider and perry, a tribute to the amazing diversity on our doorstep.
WHAT MAKES YOUR CIDERS SPECIAL?
Bushel+Peck has a lighter taste than many West Country ciders, because we use eating and cooking apples as well as the more usual bitter-sweet and bitter-sharp cider apples. Taste is such an individual thing that no one cider will appeal to everyone, but Bushel+Peck certainly seems to be appreciated by people who aren’t regular cider drinkers. Our perry has even been likened to a crisp champagne!
WHAT IS YOUR BEST-SELLING PRODUCT?
It seems to vary by geography; in Warner’s Budgens, Bushel+Peck's Fresh+Crisp cider is the most popular, whereas in Bristol the Rich+Mellow is more in demand.
WHICH PRODUCT SHOULD WARNER’S BUDGENS CUSTOMERS TRY NEXT?
Within a few weeks, the cider made from 2016’s harvest will start appearing in Warner’s Budgens (the batch number on the back label will be 9 or higher). From the trial blends we’ve already done, I think the results will be softer and more rounded than the 2015 harvest – due to different weather and different apples from different gardens. I also hope Warner’s Budgens will be stocking our Sweet+Smooth perry this year – keep an eye out for it!
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