Bettys and Yorkshire: the pressing matter of apple juice
When I taste Yorkshire Wolds Pressed Apple Juice for the first time, I realise that I’ve never actually tasted apple juice before. Not real apple juice. Smooth, sweet, mellow, moreish – this is a far cry from the tart acid green drink that we’re all accustomed to.
By now I’m back at our Craft Bakery but I wish Joe and John – who, run the business – could have seen the look on my face as they take great pride in what they do and I’m sure it would have made them happy. Not that they need my approval to tell me that their apple juice is something special. In the last four years they've consistently figured in the Great Taste Awards, always a reliable indication of superior flavour.
Joe and his wife, Alison, press the apples on Joe’s family farm, which is in a ridiculously picturesque location near Malton. John and Fiona help with pressing during busy times and sell the juice at farmer’s markets around Yorkshire at weekends. Though they have some cutting edge technology to assist with processing and bottling the juice, the actual pressing has the look of the Middle Ages about it, as puréed apples are wrapped in cloth and compressed between a stack of slatted wooden boards (called ‘cheeses’).
Joe and John took over the business after the passing of their good friend, Ray Kirby. Ray had started the business in 2008 after coming up with a simple yet brilliant idea: as he drove around the Wolds, he noticed how many windfall apples there were in people’s gardens so decided to knock on their doors and ask if he could use them to make juice. Through much trial and error – and a shift of supplier to the more reliable crop of orchards in Kent – he perfected the blend. It was Ray who earned the first Great Taste Award, and it clearly means a great deal to Joe and John that they have been able to maintain the standards that their friend set.
Before I leave Joe explains his plan to create a open air banquet table on a piece of raised land by the farmhouse and barn. You couldn’t imagine a better location for a barbecue, overlooking the soft rolling hills of the Yorkshire Wolds. Like their business, the outlook is excellent.
Yorkshire Wolds Pressed Apple Juice is on the menu in our six Café Tea Rooms