This poem is by Maria Kennedy who recently was on a placement with Ross Cider.
The morning of the last pressing,
the apples are gilded with frost,
piled in trailers in the orchard.
Each mouldering leaf, each grotty twig,
mixed in amongst the fruit is crusted with the cold moist air,
the cold curtain of December.
The day of the last pressing,
my toes are numb in my wellies,
and the hydraulic press heaves slow against the chill.
We fold the cloths, full of cold pommace,
catch the rhythm of the juice into the pail –
spill, lift, carry, pour, gurgle,
tap the bucket on the barrel for the last drop,
spill and fill again.
They say that cider making is the art of pouring,
refined. Pour the apples off the tree. Pour them into bags,
pour them in the mill, then pour the pommace,
fill the press, and finally pour the juice into the barrel,
where it will ferment and then be still until spring.
Through the last pressing, I heave the baskets of apples through their bath,
without restraint, washing the grot and grime and frost away,
knowing it is the last day of our autumn work.
The evening of the last pressing comes so quick,
the daylight folded in so fast,
how was the light pressed out so soon, we ask?
And we pack it in, go to the cellar,
pour a drink, and pass the dark away
with those who’ve worked with us, this shortest day.