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Courses and Events 2017

Old Sleningford offers a superb venue for courses and events. Its quiet, rural location with facilities both inside and out makes it ideal for any activity to take place.

We run a varied programme of courses and events throughout the year, dates for 2017 are listed below.

Join our mailing list and we will keep you up to date with any new courses and dates that are arranged.

If you would like to use the facilities at Old Sleningford Farm to run a course then please contact us to discuss further.

We have a workday on the first Sunday of every month, see the Workdays page for details of dates and times and an idea of the jobs we might be tackling. 

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Sausage Making Course - Saturday August 12th

Sausage Course

Learn how to make sausages using only the finest and freshest ingredients.

10am to 4pm

£50 per person, includes lunch and some sausages to take home

Sausage Making Course Information and Booking

Curing and Smoking Food - Sunday 13th August

Curing and Smoking

Come and learn the ancient methods of preserving food through curing and smoking.

10am to 3pm

£60 per person including lunch, refreshments and lots of tastings

Curing and Smoking Food Course Information and Booking

Alexander Technique Workshop - Saturday 2nd September

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Are you worried about your posture and don’t know how to improve it? Come along to an Alexander Technique Workshop with Hilary Cook MSTAT to see how it can help!

10am to 4pm.

£55 per person including lunch and refreshments

Alexander Technique Workshop Information and Booking

Apple Juicing Open Days 2017

Our Apple Juicing Open days are very popular, these Frequently Asked Questions should ensure you arrive prepared. 

Please read them fully and carefully and if you have any questions that aren't answered here then please use the contact us page.

What dates are there in 2017?

Open Days at Old Sleningford Farm:

Wednesday 30th August (early date added due to apples being ready early!)

Saturday 16th September

Saturday 7th October

Sunday 15th October

Saturday 28th October

Saturday 11th November

Apple Pressing at other events - see separate details at the end:

Harlow Carr Gardens - Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September

Newby Hall Gardens - Sunday 24th September

Walled Garden, Ripon - Saturday 14th October

Information about juicing open days at Old Sleningford Farm .....

What time?
Arrive anytime after 10am, please don't turn up before as we may be grumpy and won't be ready for you! Last entry at 2pm, which will enable us to be finished before it get's dark.

Do I need to book?
No, just turn up on any of the advertised dates between 10am and 2pm. No time slots are allocated, you just join in when the equipment becomes free and it's your turn. There may be a queue on busy days but the kettle is always on for teas and coffees (donation appreciated), bring a picnic if you think you could be here over lunchtime

What if I can't make any of the dates?
These are the only dates available so please don't ask if there are any more! 

There are a number of other projects that have apple juicing days that may be nearer to you – please don’t think you are taking away ‘business’ from us if you decide to go elsewhere, we will encourage you to! Here are a few of them:
Middlesborough -
https://www.menvcity.org.uk/patchwork/ , Facebook @patchworkorchard and telephone number, 01642 579820 and ask for Dewi or Catherine.
Otley Chevin Orchard Project – facebook
@otleychevinorchardproject.
Leeds Urban Harvest - http://www.
leedsurbanharvest.org.uk/
https://www.theorchardproject.org.uk/ has a list of community juicing days

We also encourage people to buy their own equipment, especially if a village, town or group can get together and then organise their own juicing open days. Equipment is available from Vigo  or Winegrowersand a reasonably priced scratter from The Cider Workshop . Cheaper presses are available from various sellers, just do an internet search, but cheaper often means lower quality. This Ebay seller has equipment but we wouldn't like to say what the quality is like. If you are just making juice for own consumption, you can use a garden shredder (well cleaned of course!) and buy a small press, we wouldn't recommend a manual scratter as they are very inefficient at crushing the apples and the juice yield is much reduced.

How much is it?
There is no charge, we do it to encourage people to make use of food that may normally go to waste. However, we do ask for donations for use of the equipment (we suggest 25p a litre pressed).
If you would like any juice pasteurising the cost is £1.75 per litre which includes your donation for the use of equipment.
The donations from previous years have gone towards trees in our forest garden and our juicing and pasteurising equipment. We have also helped other groups to set up open days like ours and are looking for other projects to support.

What type of apples can be juiced?
All apples will give you juice, even crab apples. We've found the best tasting juice is a mixture of eating and cooking apples - too many eaters and it can be too sweet and even insipid, too many cookers and it can be too sharp and acidic. However, bring what you have, it may be possible to blend with other peoples juice.

Can pears be juiced?
Yes, either on their own or mixed in with apples. Eating pears are a lot sweeter than apples, which makes a good blend especially with cooking apples. Some pears are very hard and don't taste very good, we've found these often make a really good tasting pear juice, so don't discard them! We think they'd also make a good pear cider, but haven't tried it ourselves.

How many apples can I bring?
As many as you've got. Our equipment can cope with large volumes of apples, one press can do 40kg at a time, the other 2 x 60kg at a time. If you have more apples than you need, we will gladly take them from you, please let us know. If you have a large amount, think about getting your own equipment (see 'What if I can't make any of the dates?' question above)

How can I tell how many apples I have?
As a general guide a carrier bag full will be around 4kg, a builders bucket around 10kg, an animal feed sack around 20kg, a dustbin full around 30kg.

How much juice will I get?
Roughly 2kg of apples will give you 1 litre of juice.

Will I get my own juice back?
If you are just making fresh juice then yes, all the juice you make is from your apples. If you would like it pasteurising that depends - 60 litres and above (120kg apples approx.) then yes, it can be your own juice that is bottled and returned to you. Any less than 60 litres will be mixed with other peoples juice so the bottles you get will contain some of your juice.

Can I use windfalls?
Yes, providing they don't have any mould on them. They will need to be washed carefully to make sure any soil or contamination from animals is removed.

Can I use bruised apples?
Yes, providing they haven't gone mouldy. And badly bruised bits can be cut out if you want.

Can I use apples with scab on the skin?
Yes. Apples that you wouldn't want to eat because of the look of the skin are perfect for juicing - you don't waste them!

What if I have more apples than I need?
We'll gladly take them from you and do a deal for donations or pasteurised apple juice, so please bring them along. Please get in touch if you have any spare apples or pears.

Do I need to wash the apples before I come?
No, but it will speed up the process once you get to us. All apples need to be washed before being juiced, we have some big sinks and drainers that can be used. The water will be cold, rubber gloves can help so bring some along, we cannot provide rubber gloves.

How many containers will I need?
Enough to put your juice in! 2kg of apples will give you 1 litre of juice. Containers need to be sealable to get you home without ending up with a car full of juice. We do not have any containers so please make sure you bring plenty.

What kind of containers do I need?
Depends what you want to do with the juice:
- Fresh juice will start to ferment after a week or so it's best to put it into non-glass containers just in case, glass will explode with the pressure of fermentation. Used pop bottles or tetrapacks (fruit juice cartons) are perfect, and they can be frozen if you want to keep the juice for longer. They need to be rinsed out, you can sterilise them with (Milton for example). Used plastic milk bottles can be used, but they do need to be sterilised to make sure a sour milk smell doesn't spoil the apple juice taste.
- If you want to turn your juice in to cider you'll need a container that has an airlock attached. This can be a glass demijohn, which holds a gallon (about 5 litres), or a plastic fermenting vessel, which can be a purpose made one (from a wine/brew shop) or a homemade one (a container with a hole drilled in the lid to fit the bung and airlock). We use 20/25/30 litre containers, which have previously been used for industrial alcohol, distilled water or anything else food related! They're similar to water containers for caravans, you'll find loads on an internet search. Cleanliness is vital when making cider, unless you want cider vinegar, so it's a good idea to sterilise any container to be used for fermenting.
- If you are leaving your juice to be pasteurised, you don't need containers as we will provide glass bottles

I've not got enough containers, have you any spare?
No, please make sure you bring enough with you. If you have more juice than containers, we are happy for you to donate your excess to us

How long will my juice last?
Fresh juice will start to ferment after about a week, even if kept in the fridge. If you want to keep it longer, it freezes well and you can take it out and drink as and when required (see above re containers).

Is there an alternative to freezing fresh juice?
Yes, it can be pasteurised, which is heat treated to kill off yeasts and bacteria therefore stopping it fermenting. Pasteurising correctly will give a 2 year shelf life. We can pasteurise your juice, just leave the juice with us, no need to bring any containers as we provide glass bottles, and collect a couple of days later. The cost is £1.50 per litre bottle pasteurised plus your donation for using the equipment. You will need to collect within a couple of days and bring some boxes or bags to take the bottles home in.

I'd like to make cider, how do I do that?
See the 
cider making information and we'll gladly discuss the process and give further guidance if needs be when you come juicing.

I had some juice pasteurised last year, can I bring the bottles back?
IMPORTANT! We will only accept returned bottles if they are spotlessly clean and have the lid and tamper evident strip removed. Any you bring back dirty will be returned to you - they need to be ready to put straight in to sterilising solution as we do not have the time to wash them or have room to store them. You can bring them with lids on to keep clean but we will ask you to remove them when you leave them. For any bottles returned you will get a 10p reduction in the cost of any new juice pasteurised.

Can children come?
Yes, any age is welcome. Parents are responsible for their offspring at all times, there is electricity in use and the equipment can cause injury if not used properly, so it's best if children behave themselves! We give full instruction on how to use the equipment safely but reserve the right to ask anyone, regardless of age, to leave if they are not behaving or following instructions.

Can I bring my dog?
We'd prefer not as we have animals at the farm, it can get very busy and we are dealing with food so try and be as hygienic as possible. However we understand you may have to bring your dog so if it's unavoidable please keep them on a lead and away from other people and the equipment. We can direct you to a public footpath near the farm if they need a walk.

Where do you get your equipment from?
Vigo  are the specialists is juicing equipment, you can find it cheaper elsewhere but you may not get the quality that Vigo equipment has. See question above 'What if I can't make any of the dates?' for more links to suppliers.

Can you come out to us and do a demonstration or for a group of us to juice our apples?
Afraid not, we are fully booked up for the season

Information about juicing at other events ....

We will be at the following events demonstrating apple pressing and the venues are happy for the public to bring their apples to be juiced. Details vary for each event, and are different to the open days at the farm.

RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Real Ale and Cider Weekend . Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September. 12 noon to 6pm (last apple pressing 4.30pm). Normal admission to the gardens apply. I will be pressing in the greenhouse, near to The Little Bettys Café, which is a fair walk from the entrance. If you have a large amount of apples, come and find me first and I will direct you to a car drop off point near to the pressing.

Newby Hall Gardens, Apple Day and season close . Sunday 24th September. 11am to 4pm (last pressing 3pm). Normal admission applies. I will be pressing near the restaurant, which is a fair walk from the entrance. If you have a large amount of apples, come and find me first and I will direct you to a car drop off point near to the pressing

The Walled Garden, Ripon. Apple Day and Plant Sale. Saturday 14th October. 10am to 4pm (last pressing 3pm). The Walled Garden is a horticultural project for adults with learning difficulties in Ripon. Free entry, donations will go to The Walled Garden. Volunteers with trolleys will be on hand to bring your apples to the pressing area, just ask for help.

For all these events:

Apples must be washed before bringing them, there are no facilities to wash them on site. Dirty apples will not be pressed. (See details above for what types of apple etc can be used).

You must bring suitable containers to take your juice home (see details above for how much juice you can expect / what type of containers etc)

There will be members of the public at these events who may want to sample your juice. We will try to limit the amount of juice given away but please be prepared to share some of it with others.

I will not be able to pasteurise any juice from these pressings, all of it will need to be taken away fresh.

Donations for use of the equipment will be appreciated and we suggest 25p per litre pressed. Donations from Harlow Carr and Newby Hall will go towards Old Sleningford Farm and from the Walled Garden will be given to them.


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Art Courses at Old Slen Art

There is a varied programme of art courses at the Stables Gallery at Old Sleningford Hall. See their website www.oldslen.co.uk for more details.