Half a million visitors a year can’t be wrong? We went to visit Healy’s Cornish Cyder Farm (Cornish spelling if you are wondering). We weren’t really sure what to expect and were pleasantly surprised. The farm is a collection of old buildings sitting in beautiful countryside rescued from dereliction by the Healy family. It has been transformed into a traditional craft cider making operation as well as many other products besides. They have started to make whiskey and brandy here as well – in fact the first Cornish whiskey made in the county for 300 years. The still they use had to be specially made as it’s in a listed building and couldn’t be too big. As if this wasn’t enough, they also make and bottle over 100,000 jars of jam and chutney and mustards a year too. Much of their produce is award winning.
Our visit started with a guided tour by Marion, she took us through their cider museum explaining the various processes used in years gone by. There is plenty of old machinery to look at – some of which seems not to have changed for hundreds of years. The cellars where the cider and whisky mature were a highlight for me – so evocative of tradition and craftsmanship, you could feel the history. Next there was a tour of the orchards in a large trailer pulled by a vintage tractor. Our son had a great time bumping along the country lanes and up and down the orchards. There is an informing commentary explaining various processes and there were even people pruning the trees and not a machine in sight. The whole scene was quite bucolic.
When we returned we were escorted into the large produce shop where you are encouraged to taste the many ciders they make and any of the preserves you like. You can buy as much cider and jam as you wish, I really didn’t realise how different ciders can be – of course I ended up buying some. I chose their Classic Healy’s Reserve special edition, which is matured in Jamaican Rum Hogsheads (barrels). This is a strong, tasty, rich and warming drink and works really well with Cornish Yarg, a cheese that I haven written about before in this magazine.
To round off our visit we had a traditional Cornish Cream Tea in a beautifully converted old barn, and yes the scones were baked there and the jam made there and the cream is from down the road. You can’t get more local than that. They also provide more substantial meals as well, how about Boozy Beef Pie or Cyderman’s Lunch?
The visit to Healy’s Cornish Cyder Farm was a few hours well spent. The joy of this farm vist is it is a working farm the, staff there are actually doing farm work, not just dressing up like they do in Disneyland and unlike Disneyland entrance is free. We all learned something about the craft of cider making and distilling, the food was superb and I forgot to mention that the farm is also populated by peacocks, who wander around gracefully very much at their own pace – a bit like Cornwall itself. I suggest you make your way there “dreckly” just like half a million others do every year.
For more information go to: www.thecornishcyderfarm.co.uk
Truro, Cornwall TR4 9LW