The apples are coming in, the presses are at work, and it’s almost that time when the Big Apple has welcomed visitors to the Marcle Ridge for the past thirty years. But, sadly, not in 2020. The event, which was scheduled for 10th and 11th October, has been cancelled. The community organisation behind the Big Apple had come up with a programme and a delivery plan designed to keep the event within COVID-19 secure guidelines, but the latest changes proved a step too far. “We’ve been outrun by the virus”, said spokesman Jackie Denman. “We’d like to thank the Public Health team at Herefordshire Council for their advice and support – they really tried to help us make it happen. In the end, the decision to cancel was our own. The timing just wasn’t right.”
Messages of support followed the announcement late last week. “Everyone agreed that we had made the right decision, but they also took the trouble to tell us that we would be much missed.”
This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards, to see, hear and smell cider being made and to taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar for many people. Apple growers and cider makers depend heavily on events for sales of their produce, and almost all had already been cancelled. “We tried so hard to keep the Big Apple going, especially because we were almost the only apple event that was still in this year’s calendar. We’ve put a special area on our website at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime2020/, with information about the producers that would have been there, and some ways to get hold of their produce.” Many familiar Big Apple venues are there, including Gregg’s Pit, Woodredding, Lyne Down, Pope’s Perry, Westons, Dragon Orchard and Jus Apple Juice.
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The Big Apple has started to plan its events for 2021, including Blossomtime on 2nd/3rd May and Harvestime on 9th/10th October.