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From the right CIDER town


Partridge Green, on the south of Horsham, was once home to a thriving apple growing industry, supplying the markets of Sussex and London, utilising the trains which started running in 1861. Trenchmore, a small family farm on the edge of Partridge Green and Cowfold, is growing apples again and planing to reach new parts of Sussex, since the Southern Co-op agreed to trial their cider.

“Unfortunately we can’t use trains to deliver our cider, but are finding some beautiful parts of Sussex whilst dropping off stock and enjoying meeting staff, and look forward to meeting new customers, once our tasting sessions get under way next month” explained Rachel Knowles, who works on the family farm, which has over 19 varieties of traditional cider apple trees in their orchard of over 1400 trees.

Kate Hibbert, Southern Co-op Local Sourcing Manager, said: “As an independent regional retailer in southern England, it’s vital that we play a pivotal role in supporting local food producers and the rural economy; this is very much part of our business ethos as a co-operative.”

Food security and sustainable farming methods are important to the family team at Trenchmore, mixed farmers with livestock and grains as well as apples. According to Andrew Knowles who managed his first farm in 1977: “Mixed farming rather fell out of fashion, but it’s been making a revival at Trenchmore, and experts are looking again at mixed farming and coming to the conclusion it is more sustainable!” With the cattle muck fertilising the heritage wheat, the straw from the wheat bedding the cattle over winter. The red Sussex x Wagyu cattle are mostly grass fed, and are also treated to brewers grains from Horsham’s Two Tribes Brewery, and Linseed meal from the Linseed Farm at Barns Green.

Every Autumn, the cattle get excited when their autumnal feast of left over apple pomace arrives. This is where the name Silly Moo came from. Rachel continued: “We only use fresh apple juice in our cider from Sussex grown apples. No added sugar or sweeteners; instead, we blend in some apple juice before bottling, to create a slightly sparkling, medium dry cider, which has been fermented on the farm over winter.

“After 13 tonnes of apples were delivered last Autumn at our swap and we needed to find a few more stockists, so [sic] were delighted when Southern Co-op approached us. We hope to see more and more local food and drink producers in Sussex. Buying local is really important for the local economy, as more of the money spent with local businesses stays local and we think it tastes better too!”

Silly Moo cider is now stocked across Sussex. To find out more, please visit: Trenchmore will be open again this September, as part of the Horsham Food Festival.

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