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News Archive > General > Sweet success comes from cider farm’s telly feature

Sweet success comes from cider farm’s telly feature

By Oliver Young 10th February 2021

Sweet success comes from cider farm’s telly feature
Tom Bray is the head of operations at Haywood Farm, the cider farm near Bodmin which enjoyed national coverage when it appeared on Channel 4’s ‘Devon and Cornwall’ recently

A cider farm near Bodmin has seen business begin to boom following a recent appearance on television.

Haywood Farm, based in the Allen Valley, featured on Channel4’s ‘Devon and Cornwall’ at the end of last month and the nationwide coverage has seen its mail order service sky rocket.

The farm was filmed back in 2019 as it celebrated its centenary year, the Bray family began farming the land in 1919, but was only aired last month causing local fanfare and orders from further afield.

Tom Bray, the head of the operation, cheekily revealed that although the camera crew were present for the centenary party, no footage was taken.

“We had a huge party to celebrate the 100th anniversary but the TV programme didn’t show that because the camera man enjoyed the cider a bit too much,” he joked.

“The show was really good for local awareness and the business noticed a difference, our mail orders have improved so that was brilliant.”

Tom, who is now the fourth generation of Bray to farm the land but the first to make cider, offered a brief history of the family’s history at Haywood Farm.

“In 1919, my great grandparents bought the farm from Lord Falmouth who was selling lots of land at the time,” he explained.

“My great grandfather, grandfather and father have farmed the land here and it is a proper family farm. 

“When my father left school, he farmed pigs here and all used to do a lot with bees in the 1960’s and 70’s and then in the 80’s and 90’s, we had a saw mill here.”

The arrival at cider, however, is a charming story and like many businesses, started as a hobby for Tom who was seeking a way to produce ‘cheap alcohol’. 

The 19-acre farm currently has around 3,000 trees in its orchards but back in 2003, an inquisitive Tom revealed that he used to steal other people’s apples to make his own fruity refreshment.

Tom continued: “ I used to be a gamekeeper in Callington and I saw cider being made on an old farm up there and thought it would be a good way to make cheap alcohol because I quite liked a drink back then.

“We built a big press and although we now have another press, we still use the original. We started making some cider and I started a ‘cider club’ every Thursday before we eventually began producing it commercially.”

“The whole operation has been the perfect storm really. I was really lucky to come across the process of cider-making and I like the social side of things and I enjoy the growing of fruit and trees and I am really fortunate to have the land and run the business.”

The farm now had developed, offering orchard tours and hosting live music sessions with around 300 people regularly attended on a Sunday to sample the fruits of Tom’s labour and enjoy the music.

It also provides its produce to local businesses and plans are in the pipeline for the farm to start making its own apple cider vinegar.

As for the future, Tom wisely doesn’t want to dominate the world but rather just cement his local standing whilst noting the farm is now beginning to produce more than he currently has use for.

“I don’t really want to expand too much, yes the orchards are increasing in yield so I need to find new markets but Idon’t necessarily want to spread out too far but perhaps maybe strengthen locally a bit more,” he furthered.

“I don’t need to take on the world but just keep doing what I am doing.”

By Oliver Young 10th February 2021

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