Published on Good Beer Hunting, 12 February 2020
For this article I visit Polly and Mat Hilton, cider makers in Devon.
What’s in a name? In the case of Find & Foster Fine Ciders, quite a lot. As fine cider’s rebirth gathers pace in England, Polly and Mat are busy finding what remains of their county’s lost orchards, and fostering new life among the dead and fallen trees.
The article looks at the decline in England’s traditional orchards and Polly’s work reviving some of those around her home village of Rewe.
A hundred years ago, every small farm would have had its own orchard, and would have grown a mix of fruit. But over the last century, their number fell sharply as modern, intensive farming made traditional orchards less profitable. As cider making in the post-war years concentrated into the hands of a few large-scale producers, with large-scale buying on their minds, owners of small orchards found a dwindling market for their produce.