Great Community = Great Cider
We take discarded apples to make quality craft cider & apple juice, & work with the community, including people with mental health issues. We need significant investment in equipment, so we can invest in people.
Our Story so far...
We (Andrew & Mandy) began making craft cider & apple juice in 2014, using entirely homemade equipment. We had no idea what we were doing, but the results tasted amazing, so we persisted!
We make craft cider and apple juice using apples donated from the gardens of Oxfordshire. All of this fruit would usually go to waste, either falling from the trees to make a mess in the garden or left to rot. We hate waste & it seems many others do too.
Oxford Farmhouse is the ideal place to connect with people in the local community, including those struggling with mental health issues. Learning the process, as well as being out in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, has proven to be a great help to those in recovery.
The word is spreading throughout the community and loads of apples have been donated - some we pick off the trees ourselves, others are brought to us, in small and large quantities.
Then begins the fun of washing, milling (scratting), pressing, bottling & pasteurising. Or in the case of cider, waiting 6 months for fermentation and the full flavour to develop. A wait that, we believe, is well worth it.
We've had some amazing support so far, but in order to keep up with demand we need to expand the business fast. SO, we're crowdfunding to update our equipment in order to make sure we can provide the best possible product AND enough that you all get to try it!
We have some really superb benefits in return for your support, but most importantly, by helping us grow our business you are providing us with more opportunity to involve our communities and reach those recovering from mental health problems.
We started our project a couple of years ago with...
We needed proof our concept would work, so we spent a lot of time testing the process and product to make sure we got it right - would there be enough free apples, and rather importantly, did the product taste good? We found that lots of apples go to waste across the county and the juice we made was delicious, 'The best I've ever tasted!'
Our first batches of juice involved crushing the apples manually - thankfully we are past this! This phase also saw the early stages of testing the equipment and working out if the project was scale-able. It took us three years, but phase 1 is now complete.
Beginning production – this is where we are now. We have scaled up the equipment - the tiring process of manually pulping all of the apples has thankfully been replaced by a much more efficient electric scratter/mill - and production has begun. This phase has seen a lot more people looking to donate their apples rather than seeing them wasted. We’ve also put legal requirements in place, started marketing the product, & problem solving!
We’ve managed well up to this point with the limited resources we have. We want to put the best product out that we can, and this is where we need your help. We need further equipment to ensure we are able to grow into the company we want to be:
- Crates: To keep up with the number of apples donated this year, and increasing numbers over the next few years, we need more crates in which to store the apples before they are turned into juice.
- Press: We need a bigger press. Our current press is small, handmade and cannot cope with the quantity of apples. This is a key piece of kit for the juice making process!
- Bottling Machine and Pasteuriser: We don’t want to undersell, and filling bottles by hand is inaccurate, so we need a bottling machine and pasteuriser.
- Labelling: A labelling machine is also needed so that the products can look as good as they taste, & we need to engage a professional designer for our labels.
All this costs money that we just don’t have, and is preventing us from our overall aim of phase 3...
We believe that nothing, and nobody, should be left to go to waste. We use our business as a place of friendship for anyone, but also as a social enterprise providing work for members of the community working through, and recovering from, mental health issues. Working with us, they are part of a caring community, using tactile skills in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, and learning the production processes as part of their return to a healthy mindset.
We are limited in space at our current premises, our home, and need to find a suitable venue and further funding for an industrial press, larger pasteurising capacity, as well as storage & packaging. Huge things to look forward to, but we need your help getting there.
Links to Oxford Farmhouse: www.oxfordfarmhouse.org
Instagram & Facebook: @oxfordfarmhouse
Thank you for your support!
The Oxford Farmhouse team