You could be forgiven for thinking that cider-makers have nothing to do in the Winter, but, a bit like those plants that die back in the Winter and seem to be doing nothing, but are actually getting ready for the new year all the while, we continue the harder and less glamorous jobs through the shorter dark days, ready for the rewards of Spring. Now as the apple trees blossom, we are gearing up for what we hope is to be a busy summer.
Like many in hospitality, this week, at last we welcomed customers back to the House of Cider. It feels almost like seeing old friends again now that so many customers have returned to enjoy 2021’s first meals out indoors. Our new menu has been met with approval and it’s a heady mix of relief and excitement to see people enjoying a touch of normality.
Walking in the countryside has become a staple for many of us over the past twelve months and it has been lovely to see so many local families enjoying our orchards and our new array of farm animals with their children. New beginnings come in many shapes and sizes and this has been a time for many of us to look at our lives and our businesses and reflect on what we want the future to look like.
Many of us have found that some of the simplest things in life give us a lot of pleasure which we never quite had time for before, walking, reading, gardening, being outside as much as we can’ and we need to hold on to that.
In response to the number of people enjoying the countryside, the Countryside Code has been up-dated. More than two million people have become new dog owners over the last year and many of them may not actually understand the impact their dog can have on livestock and wildlife. Our orchards are our larder, and we pick up our fruit from the ground, so while we like to share our beautiful farm, it’s important that visiting dog walkers respect our polite request to stick to the paths, keep dogs on leads and always tidy up after them using the bins around the public areas, so that we can continue to welcome them to the farm.
One of the nicest things in the new Code is an encouragement for people to “say hello”. As a country girl I am well used to the idea that anyone passing in the lanes will always give and receive a greeting. This has surprised urban friends at time who have said “Do you know that person?” and found it strange that I didn’t need to. It can take half a century to be regarded as a local in a rural village, but we do greet strangers out and about!
Here at Sheppy’s we are keen to encourage people to enjoy our beautiful farm. We have been here a long time and it’s very clear that a lot of people have a great fondness for the place and shared memories, sometimes over generations, it’s quite a responsibility and we want to look after it.
Cider is a happy sunshine drink and what makes us happy is making our guests happy whatever they come here for. There are all the signs that everyone is raring to get out to meet and to eat and drink together and we look forward sharing the pleasure of this new freedom with you soon.