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Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Monday, 27 September 2010 13:10 UK
Moss Cider brews community spirit in Manchester
Dan Hasler, Moss Cider Project
The project uses locally-grown apples to make cider

A group of inner city residents has come together to brew up the area's first ever vintage of 'Moss Cider.'

After a morning of 'scrumping' locally-grown apples, a core team launched the Moss Cider Project in an alleyway behind the Princess Road bus depot.

Using a traditional cider press, they produced 40 litres of apple juice which will now be turned into home brew.

Organisers say the scheme is helping to bring the Moss Side community together and change perceptions of the area.

'Mash up'

Between the red brick terraced houses of Moss Side is a network of cobbled alleys, once the domain of street gangs and drug runners.

However, one such passageway just off Broadfield Road has become a green space for the community and also home of the new Moss Cider brew.

On Saturday (25 September 2010) a group of residents gathered in the alley beneath a neighbour's tree to 'mash up' locally-grown apples.

The fruits of their labour: 40 litres of apple juice which will be turned into cider and the start of a new community tradition.

Cider press
The Moss Cider project collected 40 litres of apple juice.

Dan Hasler, 29, founder of the Moss Cider project, said it had been "a great day."

"A few of us went out 'scrumping' apples from gardens this morning and we've got a lot from Dionne's tree in the alleyway.

"We started shaking the tree at first and catching them in a blanket but we had a few apples fall on people's heads so we used a pole after that."

"We're a close community round here and we really use the alleyways as green space. But this is just such a great way of bringing everyone together."

Tradition

The idea for the cider project came out of a residents' meeting about the Princess Road bus depot site which is being demolished in March 2011.

Dan said it got him thinking about what they would like in its place.

"I had visions of not just houses but allotments, gardens, green space and, most importantly, orchards," he said.

Since then, Dan's teamed up with the Manchester-based Action for Sustainable Living (AfSL) who helped him buy some of the brewing equipment.

We have a Scrumptious tree which we think it's going to make a really good cider.
Dan Hasler, Moss Cider Project

Jo Willkes from AfSL lives round the corner and helped to organise a community event called The Green Side of Moss Side this summer.

She said all the apples had been donated by people with fruit trees and all the leftover pulp will be given to local allotments for compost.

"It's a fantastic scheme which is also changing perceptions of this area," she said.

"I love living here and making the alleyways into community spaces and gardens is the sort of thing that we support, especially in Moss Side."

Residents now plan to graft trees to grow their own fruit and are already planning the next crop which they hope to sell at the 2012 Christmas Markets with any money back going to fund local projects.

"We have a Scrumptious tree which we think it's going to make a really good cider in the future," said Dan.

"It feels like a new tradition has been born for our community."




SEE ALSO
Gathering an abundance of fruit
25 Sep 09 |  Nature & Outdoors

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