Pressing time for Healeys

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A leading Cornish cider farm is pressing even more apples this autumn after increasing its production capacity by 50%.

Strong sales of established brands like Rattler and Cornish Gold have helped send production at Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm into overdrive.

Commercial director, Joe Healey, explained: “We have a very short window to harvest and press the apples, so it becomes a 24-hour operation to make sure we gather as much juice as we can from the fruit.

“Last year we pressed 950 tonnes of apples, but this year we are already expecting to press more than 1,500.”

After planting its first orchards in 1986, Healeys Cyder Farm now grows nine different varieties of apples on site.

This year’s harvesting began last month with the pressing machines whirring to life for the short season. Around 28 tonnes of apples can be processed every day at the family-owned and run farm, with up to three tonnes pressed every hour during the harvest.

It takes around two days to press enough juice to fill a 50,000 litre tank at Healeys. When a tank is full, yeast and nutrients are added to boost fermentation before a team of master cider makers transform the matured alcohol into the Healeys range of drinks.

Healeys also produces wines, spirits and preserves, and recently signed a deal with Marks & Spencer to create a new cloudy Cornish Farmhouse Cyder to be sold in 468 of its stores around the UK.

The deal followed the unveiling of Healeys new £3.5 million state of the art production facility, which can run 6,000 500ml bottles an hour.