The Moss Cider Project is a brilliant group based in the Moss Side area of Manchester. Founded in 2010, their purpose is to harvest, or scrump, unwanted fruit, from parks and gardens in Moss Side and its surrounding areas, so that it can be mashed and made into cider. Dan Hasler, who founded the project, is a local project manager for the Manchester-based charity, Action for Sustainable Living. He was inspired to get it up and running by the proposed demolition of a local bus depot. Dan was taken by the amount of land that this demolition would leave and how green space could be integrated into its future re-development.
On Saturday 25th September 2010, a group of neighbours and volunteers gathered for their first 'mash-up' of locally 'scrumped' apples. In that first year they made over 40 litres of apple juice, of which 35 litres was turned into cider. Now, in October 2011 the group are looking for apples to be included in their current harvest and I was delighted to discover that they would be happy to take a donation of apples from our plot, even though we are a little outside their normal neighbourhood.
We only have one apple tree on Plot 45 but it is a big one that yields a huge number of apples - many of which go to waste each year. The apples off the tree are cookers which are not ideal for cider making as the resulting cider will be less potent, due to the lower sugar content I suspect. However, Dan and his team are confident that our apples will be of use to them and are going to be popping over later in the week to pick them up. I'll keep you posted how this year's brewing goes for them!
I love this project because it is an amazing example of local food production, demonstrating how to make the best use of every day crops that nearly all of us have access to right on our doorsteps, but which often goes to waste. Have you got any examples of projects like this in your local community that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about them!