It’s Apple Day on the 25 th of September and at Twisted Cider we love apples more than
most. In fact, we go absolutely bonkers for apples, which is why our passionately produced
South West cider is so tasty. Situated in Spring Farm, just outside Longburton in Dorset, the
Twisted Cider HQ lies within acres of wild and planted apple orchards containing several
different tasty varieties. Is there a better place to produce genuine British cider?
Another thing about Twisted Cider is that we stand completely against the use of things like
sweeteners or artificial additives. What you see is what you get with our varieties such as
Premium No. 5, Misty and Wild Orchard – pure apple-based cider goodness. You can head
to our online shop, independent suppliers or catch us out on the road
at various events to see exactly what we mean.
But anyway, enough about us. Out of all the days of the year Apple Day is the most special
here at Twisted Cider HQ. Keep reading for a fascinating exploration into the concept of
Apple Day, story of apples and history of cider. You’ll never look at an apple in the same way
What is Apple Day?
First things first, what is Apple Day? Mainly celebrated in the UK, although with support
from all around the world, Apple Day was actually only established in 1990. A charity called
Common Ground launched the first Apple Day on the 21 October 1990 in Convent Garden,
paying homage to the wonderful apple and all its many distinct varieties. It has been
celebrated every year since, proving to be incredibly popular. For example, by the year 2000
just a decade later, there were already over 600 Apple Day events across the UK.
Common Ground describe Apple Day as “a way of celebrating and demonstrating that
variety and richness matter to a locality and that it is possible to effect change in your
place”. The apple, “as a symbol of the physical, cultural and genetic diversity”, is a perfect
way to challenge certain, mainly commercial, forces in the modern world that are
continuously stripping away heritage, culture, and a sense of place.
For example, there are countless apple varieties that are inextricably tied to a certain
location. In some cases, there are orchards with apple varieties that cannot be found in
many other places and hold a direct genetic history to the very ground beneath it. With
Apple Day, Common Ground are trying to help orchards become recognised for how special
they can be, receiving an adequate level of conservation and support in the process.
That is the story behind Apple Day, but for many of us it is simply a time to celebrate one of
the best fruits in the world. At Twisted Cider we love the thought behind it, especially
considering the bountiful nature of our farms and orchards. And anyway, without apples we
wouldn’t be able to craft our wonderful South West cider – we have to celebrate!
The long and winding history of apples
Although apples are consumed regularly via all sorts of methods, have you ever stopped to
think about the history of apples? Like with most fruit, it can be easy to think of them as
having always been here, but that isn’t true at all. Yes, apples are said to have started the
Trojan War and given immortality to the Norse gods. However, as recent historical research
and painstaking DNA analysis has confirmed, there is a start date for the arrival of the apple.
Coming from the same Rosacae family as pears, plums, peaches, cherries, and strawberries,
the very first apple is said to have originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan. These were
wild apples and due to the extreme heterozygosity of the apple genome, every single one
was slightly different from the seed it stemmed from. This is a fascinating apple trait that
explains why there are so many different varieties in the modern world.
Historians tend to agree that the first apples were domesticated in China around 40,00-
10,000 years ago, which then travelled along the Silk Road to Europe. Along the way, there
were various mutations, especially in the early days where apple propagation was nowhere
near as advanced and still led to plenty of genetic mutations.
It is no secret how much people in particularly in the Western Hemisphere love apples, with
there being a mountain of allusions to the fruit in everything from Christianity to Ancient
Greek mythology. One thing is certain – the taste of this wonderful fruit must have
completely blown people away!
When did we first start making cider?
Right, that’s a brief history of apples out of the way, but what about cider? At Twisted Cider
we are understandably fascinated by the history of cider, which is a great reason to do some
research. It appears the development of cider quickly followed the discovery of apples,
because there is ample evidence to suggest that cider was being consumed in Ancient
Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Middle East.
In fact, the term “cider” probably comes from the Hebrew “shekar” or Greek “sikera”, both
of which mean strong drink. In Britain, Celts were making a rudimentary form of cider from
crab apples from at least 2000 BC. Doing as they do, when the Romans conquered the Isles
they established a more sophisticated approach to orchards, apple cultivation and cider
making, which must have made the drink even more popular.
This happened once again after 1066, where the Normans bought even more sophistication
to the British Isles. They introduced new varieties of cider apples and much better pressing
methods, meaning that the whole cider making process was made more efficient and even
tastier. Interestingly, the Normans were descendants of Vikings who moved South. Many
historians say is the root of the traditional love of cider in Normandy, which contrasts the
French love of wine.
Between the 14 th and 18 th centuries there were a few important historical developments in
the UK that led to an increased focus on cider. Firstly, a mini ice-age in Europe meant that
grapes struggled to grow in Britain, whereas apples were still being cultivated extensively.
Moreover, a continuous stream of wars with France and Spain led to consistent shortages of
brandy and wine. This meant that people had to turn to cider more and more!
Twisted Cider and our long, loving relationship with apples
It goes without saying that Twisted Cider have a long and lasting relationship with apples.
It’s the reason we put so much time and care into our product, to ensure the beautiful taste
of South West apple varieties is properly represented. The story begins back in 2007, where
we first started planting apple and pear trees in the rolling fields of Longburton. It wasn’t
long until we were operating out of a brand-new barn in 2010, at which point Twisted Cider
really started to go bonkers for the lovely drink!
Over the last decade we have seen our fanbase and suppliers customers grow year on year,
with pubs like The Cross Keys in Sherbourne and Covivial Rabbit in Dorchester all stocking
Twisted Cider. Something we believe sets us apart is our absolute passion for apples and
cider, it explains why we’re celebrating Apple Day after all.
But all good things experience their moments. On June 8 th 2020 we tragically lost a large
portion of our barns, equipment and cider stock to an electrical fire. It was hard to come back from, but through a
combination of a beautiful local community and massive passion for cider, we returned with
a bang. Nothing can stop our beautiful relationship with apples!
Some Twisted Cider varieties to try on Apple Day
After all this talk of Apple Day we couldn’t leave you without highlighting a few Twisted
Cider varieties you’ll absolutely love. Take a look at a few of these quality South West ciders
in our shop, especially if you are an equally large fan of apples:
Premium No. 5: The Twisted Cider Premium No. 5 variety puts a
modern spin on traditional cider making techniques, introducing a subtle fizz into the
mix. It’s still made with quality Dorset apples picked at prime sweetness but has a
refreshing sparkling finish that is perfect for those hot summer days under the sun.
Misty: For the more classic cider drinks out there, Twisted Cider Misty is made to emulate the scrumpies of old. This cider is made from a few apple
varieties pressed each Autumn with absolutely no concentrate involved whatsoever.
As such, the beautiful amalgamory of flavours brought by these South West apples is
pushed to the forefront as much as possible.
Wild Orchard: We couldn’t finish up an article on Apple Day without talking about
Twisted Cider Wild Orchard. One sip of this cider will have you
flying above the orchards of Dorset, where the perfect growing conditions make for
some seriously tasty apples.