Located within striking distance of the famous Purbeck Cliffs, The Purbeck Cider Company’s orchard and farm look out onto an idyllic backdrop of Corfe Castle and the stunning Jurassic Coast. Served at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Restaurant, their traditionally pressed ciders, made using premium quality apples, provide a refreshing and flavourful taste of Dorset. Here, Joe Hartle, founder of The Purbeck Cider Company, talks to us about life as a local Dorset producer and his favourite way to spend a well-earned day off.
What inspired you to set up a cider business in Dorset?
“After returning from New Zealand, I began to look at how I could make a farming business stack up on our farm in The Isle of Purbeck. We had already planted some trees to make cider apple sorbet, so after some research and business planning, I started to produce cider alongside farming sheep.”
Why is it important to you to use traditional methods to create Purbeck Cider?
“We use modern equipment but still use cold fermentations from single pressed juice. This, alongside our other homegrown methods, helps us to develop a higher quality product for our customers.”
Where do the names of your ciders come from?
“Normally, the inspiration for the names for our ciders come from our team and local surroundings. For example, the Forgotten Orchards range is named after all of the long-forgotten orchards I’ve discovered on my travels around Dorset.”
How would you spend your ideal day in Dorset?
“The countryside is in my blood so an ideal day in Dorset for me would be a morning moving sheep around my farm and an afternoon walking the coastline or hills, preferably ending up at the pub with a cider in hand!”
Where are your favourite places in Dorset to go to relax and unwind?
“I’m lucky enough to have the most of what I want in life on my doorstep, so I find that some of the most tranquil places to relax are walking around my farm or in our orchard.”
What are your favourite local dishes to enjoy alongside your ciders?
“One of my favourites is a lovely lamb hock alongside our award-winning Forgotten Orchard Garden Mint cider—it’s a fantastic combination.”
Sample The Purbeck Cider Company’s delicious, Dorset-made ciders at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Restaurant.
Image credits: lead image © The Purbeck Cider Company. Apple in an orchard © iStock/Alan_Lagadu. Dorset landscape © iStock/kodachrome. Joe's Cider © The Purbeck Cider Company