New summer festival ends appley for Purbeck Cider

Despite a worrying weather forecast of wind and rain, the success of a new summer festival was one more reason to celebrate a successful year at Purbeck Cider.

The Purbeck Cider Company held its first ever cider festival on Sunday 13th August 2023, named Cider Sundae because of its family links with Purbeck Ice Cream, which was also selling strongly at the event.


Making the challenge a little easier at the fishing for apples event

Why set up a coconut shy when there are plenty of apples to be used?

Village fete games with a farmyard twist

Hundreds of people turned up to enjoy live music from the Eynsford-Hill Duo, Phil King and Frankie Rudd, taste the range of Purbeck ciders, wander through the farm’s orchards – already laden with fruit more than a month ahead of harvest – and try their hand at village fete games with a farmyard twist.

They included an apple shy with fruit waiting to be knocked from stands with tennis balls, netting apples from a paddling pool, a cider ring toss over empty bottles and guessing the number of balloons in a tractor cab.

There was plenty to celebrate at the new festival, quite apart from the sun staying out all day, with a new cider press being unveiled and news of a deal with British Airways which will now offer one of the company’s favourite ciders to customers on all short haul BA flights.

Katy & Perry – a mix of Katy apple and Perry pear ciders – has become a firm favourite

Now with an added sparkle in cans, Katy & Perry is being offered on all British Airway short haul flights

Airline offers Purbeck Cider on short haul flights

Thanks to a contract sealed by new head of sales for Purbeck Cider, Ben Maguire, British Airways have just taken cans of Purbeck Cider Katy & Perry – a medium sweet mix of Katy apple and Perry pear ciders – on their short haul flights through Europe.

And the firm’s new apple press will greatly increase productivity this year, being capable of processing eight tonnes of apples an hour.

The farm’s previous press had only been capable of processing one tonne an hour and had been running at full capacity, operating 23 hours a day at its peak in early autumn.

A newly installed press for Joe Hartle will increase productivity at Purbeck Cider this autumn…

… which is just as well, as 2023 has seen a bumper crop of apples in the orchards

“We’ve had a very good crop this year”

Company founder Joe Hartle said:

“There is still work to do, but the press should be ready for the 2023 harvest and increase our yield on the juice to 75 percent and free labour up to do other work.

“We’ve had a very good crop this year – perhaps a bit too good in some ways as the Tom Putt trees are a bit overladen with fruit. A few trees didn’t make it from last year, which is a bit frustrating, but overall it’s been a good year for the fruit and the Three Counties trees are doing really well.

“Originally I had said we would get to a point where we could do four events a year at the farm – our wassail, an open farm Sunday, a summer cider festival and an apple day in October.”

Purbeck Cider and Purbeck Ice Cream – what’s not to love?!

Guess the number of balloons in the tractor proved a popular competition

The Eynsford-Hill duo were among local musicians who provided music for the day

Cider Sundae chose to have a family atmosphere

Joe added:

“I got married to Kate in June and because we were so busy with the wedding, I suggested that we just did the wassail, but the sales team including Kate were determined that the festival should be held.

“I’ve always wanted to run a Summer Cider Sundae, because of the tie-up with ice cream in the family, so we went ahead with it and have Purbeck Ice Cream selling here to incorporate the family business.

“We wanted it to be a nice family atmosphere rather than a commercial sales events, so we chose a fun name and have family games running and a chance to try some local food and drink.”


A January Wassail has already become an annual fixture of the farm’s calendar

Reusable and sustainable cider glasses were successfully trialled at the festival

A local business supporting local people

Purbeck Cider’s January Wassail is becoming an established event in the Purbeck calendar, and the company is now thinking of introducing Apple Day as a low key open day in October for local families to see the new apple press and harvesters in action.

Joe added:

“If that goes ahead, it will be with a view to building on it for future years – we are very focussed on trying to be a local business which supports local people.

“We really value our community and the people here have been a real part of the journey we have taken, so it is a chance for us to engage with locals, show them what we are doing and tell them how we are doing it.”

Purbeck Ciders are available at a large number of local pubs and businesses including Norden Farm, Burnbake Campsite, Corfe Castle, the Scott Arms and the Square and Compass Inn.

Further information

Keep up to date with latest developments at Purbeck Cider on its website

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