Life takes some funny twists and turns. I’m still learning to open myself to the possibilities.
When I had a call from Russia last summer asking about the possibility of exporting our cider, I presumed it was a joke. I was still operating Turners Cider out of our garden shed. But my Russian caller had tasted our Dry Cider in the Harp in Covent Garden and liked it and could he come and visit my “cider factory” in Marden and perhaps visit our “tasting room”.
In hindsight I did everything I could to put them off.
You’re very welcome to visit the cider factory and have a tasting in the tasting room, I said, but please understand that both those places are my garden shed, where I also keep the lawn mower.
Anyway Konstantin and Nataly duly came to Marden on a scorching hot summer’s day and we stood in my over-heating shed and drank my cider. I then took them for a tour of Peter Hall’s orchards in Marden, where we source most of our fruit, and for a meal in The Stile Bridge, where they drank some more of my cider (I drank beer).
That day was also notable for the last minute panic of May’s lost passport and a mad rush to Liverpool to get a new one before we travelled to Spain for our summer holiday. (We think one of the children tidied the passport into the kitchen bin, though we’ll never know.)
Nine months later and Konstantin and Nataly have just visited Marden again. This time they brought vinegar factory owner Yury so May could teach him the fundamentals of chutney making.
And now we’re about to send our first shipment to their pub Hamilton’s in Belgorod. We’re in fine cider company, on the bar at Hamilton’s along side Hecks, Hallets and Hogan’s.
I never thought we’d be sending cider to Russia. But I love selling to people who love our cider, wherever they are.