Meet Foxwhelp a beautiful bitter-sharp red cider apple said to originate from Gloucestershire where it was first recorded in 1600. In fact the earliest known reference to the Foxwhelp was by John Evelyn in his publication “Pomona” which was an appendix to his Sylva “Concerning Fruit Trees in Relation to Cider” which was first published in 1664.
This glorious apple was little known throughout the 1700’s with few references made to it and arguably at that time the great apple of Herefordshire was the Red-streak. In Evelyn’s time the Foxwhelp appears to have been regarded as a native of Gloucestershire with Dr Smith in the Pomona when writing of the best fruit in Gloucestershire says…..
“the cider of the Bromsbury Crab and Fox-whelp is not fit for drinking till the second year, but then very good”,
with another reference suggesting……
“the Fox-whelp of the Forest of Deane.”
Arguably one of the oldest and best cider apple there is the Foxwhelp has stood the test of time and we currently grow an abundance of trees which successfully bear fruit year on year. Robert, who looked after our orchards alongside Ivor and Susie until retirement in December 2014, took this picture. As you can see the juice is of a very rich colour with the Foxwhelp making an excellent and distinctive crisp, dry single varietal cider.
If you are keen to learn more about the history of cider making or indeed having a go at making your own then there are plenty of books out there to get you started. This website called Cider Core provides a helpful overview on some of the more popular titles or perhaps you have a favourite that you would like to tell us about. Feel free to drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org using cider book in the subject line. We are always interested in hearing your views and musings on all things cider like.
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