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07th June, 2018

The winning cider was produced from tried and trusted varieties of cider apples, grown in a traditional cider orchard at Weekes Farm, Mutterton, which was originally planted over a hundred years ago on the ridge and furrow principle – the trees being planted on the ridges between the furrows, to assist drainage and promote growth.

More than a thousand show-goers cast their votes over the four days of the show after tasting a range of 18 top-quality artisan ciders, with the Ridge and Furrow Sweet edging out Alan Berry’s Blackmore Vale Sweet in the final judge-off.

Justin Bartley said that he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the accolade of The People’s Choice.

“As a micro-producer in the process of expanding to a small commercial business, this is just the sort of shot in the arm that we need.

After all, the people who make the most important judgements on ciders in the final analysis are the buying public, and to have topped the poll at the Bath and West is a real vote of confidence not just in the quality of our cider, but in its customer appeal.

Although the farm is a long-established family business, including a herd of pedigree South Devon cattle and a small flock of Devon Longwool sheep, Justin Bartley is a relative newcomer to cider-making, having previously built a career in the environmental sector.

He began making cider on a small scale to sell in his local pub, the Merry Harriers at Westcott near Cullompton, and has taken it on from there.  Besides winning the People’s Choice at the Royal Bath and West his medium cider also took Silver in the Farmhouse Medium class of the British Cider Championships at the show.

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