Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Birch Sap Wine, More Filming; Countryside Alliance Foundation

Last evening I accompanied the Farmer down to one of our bottom fields to collect his harvest of birch sap. The previous day he had tied some bottles over the cut ends of a couple of low branches on the birch trees and by the following evening there was about a litre of sap & from all the bottles together there was sufficient quantity to start off a brew of birch sap wine.
Birch sap is one of the easiest wine making ingredients to gather. It just pours out of the trees at this time of year when the tree is cut. We have also seen the sap dripping from a sycamore tree where a branch had been removed but it is not suitable for wine making.

Birch Sap Wine
1 gallon birch sap
2lbs cane sugar
2 oranges or lemons, sliced
1 pkt. wine yeast
1 Campden tablet

Warm but do not boil the sap to dissolve the naturally occuring sugars in it. Pour the sap over the squeezed halves & juice of the oranges or lemons.
When cooled to 55 degrees F. add the yeast and proced with the normal wine-making process.

This recipe comes from one of the Farmer's favourite books, 'The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible' . The title says a lot about the book & the Farmer, I think!

We have spent the morning filming with Rachel Evans, the director of the Countryside Alliance in Wales. She has a project to make a series of short films about farming and food production.
She came to Penyrallt to shoot scenes around the farm and then to interview the Farmer & me about various issues and topics.
We spoke about food labelling, the importance of getting school children onto farms to learn about the countryside & food, the TB problem, foxes, the crazy amount of paperwork we have to deal with, the closure of small local abattoirs and many other issues that beset the lives of us in the countryside.
We first met Rachel through the Countryside Alliance Foundation when we volunteered to host a school visit arranged by the Foundation. It was one of the best visits we have had...100 children over 2 days from a very deprived school in Carmarthen. None of the children ever been on a farm before and they had such a lovely day...just to seeing them running in a field of grass was wonderful and if they went away with nothing more than that experience it would have been enough to justify bringing them to the farm.

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