We blend 9 local apple varieties giving Yarde its unique flavour. By using rare, local apples, we hope to create a cider which reflects our locality and terroir.
The apples are bittersweets, bittersharps, sharps and a few dual-purpose apples. Using more than one apple variety gives Yarde cider a greater depth of flavour.
Each vintage (year) is different, reflecting the variations in the weather. The rain and sunshine all contribute to its flavour as the apples swell and ripen.
Bickington Grey - Sharp This Devon apple originates just up the road from us on the other side of Totnes, in a village called Bickington.
Gorgeous-looking apple with buttery coloured skin and a dark golden mesh over much of it. The eye of the apple occasionally bulges (like a king fruit) and flushes red. We collect these from the orchard surrounding our ciderhouse, and from Lupton House, near Brixham.
Sheep's Nose - Mild Sharp
This is an old cider variety with a pearmain, cylindrical or dumpling-like shape, with a mellow, pale skin with a reddish flush and pale, soft flesh. Sheep's nose is a generic name for apples which look similar to this, and there are plenty of variations out there. It matures late, and hangs onto the tree well into late November. The Sheep's nose we use come from Lupton House orchards (just a couple of miles from us in Brixham) and the orchards surrounding our ciderhouse.
Silver Cup - Full bittersweet Not many of these left in the country, or the world for that matter. Thankfully we have an abundance of them growing in the orchard by our cider house. As the name suggests, it has a silvery hue to its pale yellow skin. The distinct, sharp flavour is ideal for blending, and has won us many awards, or should we say Silver cups, for our cider. The apple was first recorded at the Bath and West Show in 1899. It is a mid to late season, full on flavoured bittersweet, which keeps us pressing in the cider house well into late November. Very tannic, and a useful apple for giving body and bite to our ciders.
Tom Putt - Dual purpose apple. A local variety from Honiton in Devon. This apple variety is very special to our cidermaker Simon as it is the first tree he ever grafted when training at RHS Garden Wisley in the fruit department. He has always kept a Tom Putt in a container and has taken it with him wherever he has moved. It is a wonderfully versatile apple, that looks beautiful too with its pointy, puckered nose and its red flushing. It is both useful as a dessert and culinary apple, and of course makes great cider. The Tom Putt apples we use come from Torre Abbey gardens in Torquay, (this is the absolute limit of air miles for us, about 3 miles from our ciderhouse). Other Tom Putt apples come from an orchard on the other side of the River Dart to our ciderhouse
Peter Lock - Dual Purpose
Peter Lock discovered this wild seedling in the early 1800s, while walking in Dean Wood, just outside of Buckfastleigh, which is about 4 miles from our ciderhouse.
A large, white fleshed apple apple with distinctive striping, it is suitable for cooking and dessert. We use it to provide some backbone to our gorgeous cider and balances out sharpness from some of the full-on flavoured cider varieties. Very sweet and aromatic.
Sweet Alford - very mild bittersweet Originating in Devon, this pretty, small apple makes wonderful honeyed flavoured cider, but also tastes great if eaten as a dessert fruit. It has a waxy yellowish skin and a crisp, white flesh. We harvest these apples from a small, picturesque orchard just over on the other side of the River Dart from our ciderhouse.
Paignton Marigold - Mild bittersweet
Another one of our very local apple varieties, originating a couple of miles from our ciderhouse. It was known to be in existence prior to 1924. It has a lovely mellow yellow skin with red stripping on it. A relatively small apple with not too much tannin. Seems to have good scab resistance when grown in this area of the country, but that might be down to the clean, healthy sea air.
Tremlett’s Bitter – Full bittersweet. This apple is for the real, hard-core cider-heads! These gorgeous, small red bittersweets with their distinctive, conical shape, almost like a acorn, give a real astringent bite to traditional Devon ciders. The apple originated from the Exe valley, Devon in the late ninetieth century. It is a full flavoured apple with exceptionally sweet juice but with a tannic bitterness. Perfect for blending with some of the less punchy cider apples. The apples we use come from the orchard across the road, ripening from early to mid October. It flowers early in the year, making it susceptible to early frosts, and causing it to go biannual. On a good year though, it provides bumper yields.
Our secret ingredient - Bittersweet
These small, scabby looking apple with lime-green skin might not look like much, but these gorgeous flavoured bittersweets pack a delicious punch when gently squeezed in our press. They make up about 30% of our cider, and grow in abundance around our ciderhouse.
Join us for one of our Summer tours and discover what apple it is.