Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sundays at Willie's

The open days at Willie Smiths Organic Cider in Grove have become a monthly event, so last Sunday we went again, meeting up with friends for a very pleasant afternoon outside the big apple shed. Last time I went on a tour of the cidery. This time I got there early enough to go on a tour of the orchard with the grower, Andrew Smith. It was interesting to hear about some of the organic methods, the history of the property, his childhood there and how they prune the trees (very minimally). It is clear that they always have to think ahead of the market so that they grow and make what people want... the preference for Pink Lady apple over other varieties some years back just one example. They supply organic apples to a large supermarket nationally and despite some onerous requirements like regular audits against some very important and some quite ridiculous quality and OH&S criteria, his overall experience of working with them was very positive. On the other hand, Aldi quite rightly copped a serve for importing everything into Australia and not supporting local producers or manufacturers. Andrew said the orchard tours are an opportunity for them  to educate consumers who in turn influence the supermarkets. Back at the shed, I tried a deliciously dry rhubarb cider and a pulled pork burger from Tasman Quartermasters who cater the day. Check their web site or Facebook page for details of the next one.

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