Business in a Nutshell: Collaborative production and processing of cider from local apples
Based in Newborough, Anglesey, PhD Forestry student Tim Peters is producing small scale cider from apples collected locally from gardens and small farms.
Tim was brought up in Kent, surrounded by productive orchards and there developed a passion for traditional cider production from a young age, brewing in small batches for family and friends. After moving to Wales Tim noticed that many productive apples trees were not picked and that the fruit was going to waste. Through his work at the time as a domestic gardener he built up a network of fruit tree owners who didn’t use their fruit and out of this was born Dwynwen Cider, named after local legend Santes Dwynwen, the Welsh saint of lovers.
Tim demonstrates cider making at a range of local events such as Anglesey Woodland Festival and Conwy Food Feast. All labelling and demonstrating materials are bilingual, and his partner and children are always on hand to help answer questions in Welsh. His aim is to fit an industrial unit on Anglesey with the equipment required to allow local orchard owners, farmers, small holders and anyone with an apple tree to bring along their apples to be processed and preserved and the juice then either fermented or pasteurised as apple juice. The apple owners can choose from a number of options in terms of processing and trading apples which represents a simplification of the traditional supply chain model.
This collaborative, cooperative approach is intended to encourage small allotment holders, students, elderly care homes and so on, to start looking at their orchards and apples trees as a valuable resource. It also has relevance to public bodies, schools and landowners. The aim is to encourage local people to plant more fruit trees, train them to care for and prune the trees and ultimately offer courses in orchards skills such as grafting, budding, pleaching and espaliering. The increase in interest in apples and orchards could help to preserve and improve this important and increasingly fragile habitat.
Whilst attending trade shows Tim has seen a lot of interest, not only in the cider itself but in the idea of not wasting the apples that are growing locally. ‘Many people that I meet at shows contact me in Autumn and ask me to collect their fruit rather than see it go to waste and I feel that demand for this option could spread rapidly’.
There are currently no operators in the region providing a similar service. Tim says of the venture ‘I work closely with Ian Sturrock who rediscovered several ancient Welsh apple varieties which occur nowhere else in the British Isles. These rare apples are carefully double fermented for 12 months before becoming the dry, sparkling Dwynwen Cider. I am proposing to use apples which would otherwise be wasted as well as encouraging the planting of new trees for a future source of apples. The innovation is not the product but the change in the way that the supply chain works in order to increase viability of small orchards and also to generally reduce the amount of food waste on the island’.
Tim has received support for his business from the mentoring scheme offered through B-Enterprising at the University and plans to have a stall at the Student Christmas Market at the end of the year. He was also awarded a Santander Universities Enterprise Mobility Award which he intends to use to visit the city of Hereford and to travel the famous cider route. He says ‘This will give me plenty of networking opportunities where I can investigate the various ways which small, medium and large cider producers are developing cider based tourist attractions as I believe that this is something that could be replicated on the Isle of Anglesey. In the future I would love to find premises which I can develop into a Sustainable Fruit Hub with an element of tourist attraction in North Wales’.