Oldest cider maker rues the ill wind of St Jude
The oldest cider maker in Britain may have to stop production after 82 years in the business because of damage caused in Sunday night's storm.
Naish's Cider Farm at West Pennard, near Glastonbury, lost 14 trees in the storm which wreaked havoc in the early hours of Monday morning. The storm hit Piltown Farm at around 3.45am, and left a scene of devastation.
Frank Naish, 89, has been making cider at Piltown Farm since he was seven, first with his father, William, then with his late brother Harold. Mr Naish has the oldest cider press in the UK. It is believed to date from around 1840, and at 89 Mr Naish is the oldest cider maker in the country.
Paul Chant, who helps Mr Naish as well as making his own cider, said: "It was like a mini tornado. We had 14 trees down, six were ripped right out."
The damage has called the future of cider production at the farm into question. Mr Chant posted a bleak message on Facebook in the wake of the storm: "With countless damaged trees, the cost of clearing up, replacing fences and trees and the time involved with care growing/grafting and planting/setting out, we are drawn to the conclusion that producing cider at a loss is no longer viable."
However, Mr Chant added: "The big companies have destroyed the industry with their chemicals and cheap alcohol. As a company you can't exist anymore – it's a hobby – but we will try and keep going."