Apples ahoy – Susanna Forbes, with award, next to Andrea Briars, CAMRA Pomona award coordinator & East Anglia Regional Director, with City of Hereford Mayor, Paul Stevens, and friends at Little Pomona Cidery on Brook House Farm, nr Bromyard.

Locals, visitors and dignitaries saluted humble apples and rare pears as Little Pomona cidery celebrated double honours on Saturday 16 October.

What began as Little Pomona’s first Club day, a chance for members to get together at the Tasting Room, to see behind the scenes and to taste new releases, became a celebration of all things apple and pear, past present and future.

While the Mayor of the City of Hereford, Cllr Paul Stevens, looked to the future, planting two Holmer Perry pear trees in the orchard surrounding Little Pomona’s Cider Garden, Little Pomona co-founder Susanna Forbes scooped CAMRA’s Pomona Award, its highest annual accolade for the promotion of Cider and Perry.

Pears for your heirs: City of Hereford Mayor, Cllr Paul Stevens, plants a Holmer Perry pear tree before handing over to the next generation: from left: Harriet, Tobias, Jack, Jacques, son of Bromyard Mayor Suzette Brunsford, with Bromyard town crier, Peder Neilsen, in support.

RESCUING A RARE PEAR

A resident of the Holmer parish of Hereford, Cllr Stevens found out about the plight of the Holmer Perry pear on a visit to the Museum of Cider in Hereford back in 2019. Fiercely proud of his home county’s outstanding cider heritage, he determined to rescue this historic pear. Collecting scion wood from Jim Chapman at the National Perry Pear Collection in Hartpury, Gloucester, Cllr Stevens charged Nick Dunn at famed tree nursery Frank P Matthews with grafting a dozen new trees. Two elegant seven-foot trees now planted in Little Pomona’s Cider Garden on Brook House Farm, Avenbury, were the first to be bequeathed to key locations within Herefordshire.

Fiercely proud of Herefordshire’s apple heritage, Cllr Stevens is spearheading a number of initiatives, including H’Applefest, destined to bring apple culture into the city of Hereford in Autumn 2022. Events will kick off with a music and apple festival in High Town on 1 October.

“In my opinion, Herefordshire is one of the spiritual homes of the apple,” says Cllr Stevens. “We have some of the best cidermakers in the country. Let’s do more to give visitors a reason to come and experience it for themselves,” said Stevens.

LITTLE POMONA CO-FOUNDER WINS POMONA AWARD

Meanwhile Little Pomona’s Susanna Forbes received CAMRA’s highest annual cider advocacy accolade, the Pomona Award. Presenting Forbes with the award, CAMRA Pomona Award co-ordinator Andrea Briars praised Susanna’s “outstanding achievement in the promotion of real cider and perry”, citing initiatives including her involvement in Ciderlands 2019, the formation of Cider Women, Full Juice magazine, and the Discover Cider campaign.

Past Pomona Award winners include Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider & Perry, and Mike Johnson, Ross on Wye Cider & Perry, both of whom were present at the ceremony.

“This award goes to the wonderful collaborators I’ve had the joy of working with,” said Forbes. “My fellow Cider Women co-founders and our current members, my ever-talented Full Juice partners in crime, Gabe Cook, Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw. And the inspirational Ciderlands network, spearheaded by Haritz Rodriguez and the Basque Country, and here in the Three Counties by Elizabeth Pimblett, Museum of Cider, and Gabe Cook.

“We have a chance to change the destiny of craft cider. I’m really pleased to support CAMRA’s campaign with Gabe Cook, calling for a three-pronged cider tax reform in the forthcoming budget. Drinkers everywhere deserve to share in the richness of this culture and its tastes. Let’s band together and do just that.”