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Meet the... Cider Maker

PUBLISHED: 17:32 03 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:51 20 February 2013

Meet the... Cider Maker

Meet the... Cider Maker

Fourth generation cider maker Martin Thatcher planted his first apple tree at the age of five. Today he is Managing Director of Thatchers Cider in Sandford and busy with plans to continue a programme of planting new orchards in Somerset

Fourth generation cider maker Martin Thatcher planted his first apple tree at the age of five. Today he is Managing Director of Thatchers Cider in Sandford and busy with plans to continue a programme of planting new orchards in Somerset


How long has your family been making cider?


My great grandfather moved to Myrtle Farm in the late 1800s, and cider was first made commercially here in 1904. As all farmers did in those days, my great grandfather would make cider for the farm hands, but decided even back then that this was a great product with a future, and so started selling first to the local villagers, and then gradually further afield.


The company has remained a family firm since then, and there is a fifth generation waiting in the wings, and I hope very much that they will be as keen as I was to enter the business. Like me, they are being brought up in the farm environment, and absolutely love the rural way of life.


What is a typical day like for you?


Im pleased to say that every day is totally different! Thats one of the things that I love most about the job. In fact, I wouldnt say what I do is a job its a passion, and its part of my life.


My day starts with walking from my house, through the orchards, to my office. I normally begin by catching up with emails as its great to have an hour at my desk before the phone starts ringing.


Depending on the time of year, I can be out in the orchards and talking to our growers, to ensure our apples arrive at Myrtle Farm in the best quality. This year we upgraded our bottling hall, so I was closely involved with the installation of the new equipment.


What skills do you need to be a cider maker?


Everyone who works here has a passion for cider. You also need to have a good sense of taste, as well an understanding of the cider-making process. Cider making is still a craft, and its something that we all care deeply about.


Every Friday we have a tasting of every batch of cider that is being crafted. This is one of the most essential times of the week. Its the culmination of everyones hard work and no cider leaves Myrtle Farm unless it has been passed by our stringent tasting panel.


What is your favourite cider?


The cider I choose depends on the time of day, or where I am. If Im in a pub with friends I may choose Thatchers Gold, or as an aperitif Id have a glass of Katy Ros. At the end of a long day Id probably choose a pint of Traditional.


Thatchers Gold is our best-selling cider and we sell it throughout the country. We enjoy making limited edition ciders our Somerset Redstreak always goes down a treat and usually sells out in our farm shop as soon as it is available!


Do you hold the tradition of Wassailing in your orchards?


Every January we hold our own Wassail here at Myrtle Farm. The Mendip Morris Men lead the ceremony for us, and its a very enjoyable part of our year. We ask our local primary school in Sandford to join us in performing the ceremony in our orchards, and its a great way for them to appreciate this great rural tradition.


What is your favourite time of cider-making year?


Springtime. When the trees are in full blossom, there is nothing better than walking through the orchards. Theres plenty of wildlife to be seen deer, rabbit, hare. Its also the season for looking forward, and theres always a great air of optimism around.


http://www.Thatcherscider.co.uk

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