Guernsey Wonderland
May 03rd 2018 by Judit Čović

FLASHBACK – 2018 EUROPEA Seminar FR/UK

During our April meeting in Normandy, we had the opportunity to hop on a boat and sail to Guernsey! A marvellous place and a wonderland of its own. “Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel near the French coast, and is a self-governing British Crown dependency. “ – Google informs. We spent a very short time there, visited two enterprises but we were all very much affected by this little island and its great residents.

 

Rocquette Cider Farm: Home grown cider from Guernsey

After a very delicious seafood lunch we visited the Rocquette Cider Farm of the Meller family located in the Fauxquets Valley in the heart of Guernsey countryside.

Heartily welcomed by the senior boss James Meller (by the way a Scotsman), we got a nice impression of the farm.  During a short walk on the farm James explained the whole process from harvesting the apples up to having the cider filled up in bottles ready for selling. They produce cider in many varieties and flavours: traditional, exceptional and craft ciders and still ciders with funny names like Merry Berry, Castle Gunners, Scallywag or Salty Dog.

The annual apple swap brings apple growers from all over the island to the farm which generates up to 15 tonnes of, locally grown hand picked apples to supplement our own harvest. They have also started importing apples from our sister island, Jersey, to give the cider a truly Channel Island branding which appeared to be a good marketing idea and make it more appealing to a larger market. A big highlight at the end of our visit was a tasting ceremony of local products, the different ciders, home-made cheese and chutneys: yummy, yummy….

By Gerd Alscher (DE), member of the EUROPEA Editorial Group

 

Meadow Court Farm

One of the 14 farms on this enchanting channel island is Meadow Court, a third generation enterprise run by very special and very jolly people. Day in and day out Julien, Katrin and Rachel would deal with the 70 milking cows, the surrounding lands and the ice-cream shop situated in one of the charismatic buildings of the court. First thing we learn is that there are only Guernsey cows on Guernsey! This gentle and pretty brownish-yellow breed is characteristic for the island and there is even a Guernsey Conference every 3 years here gathering breeders from Australia, Africa and New Zealand!

Katrin shows us though the stables and the spacious pink (!!) milking parlour. She is responsible for this task, and she claims that she recognises all her “ladies” and knows all of them by their names. And just before the EUROPEAns would try to express some of their doubts, she points to them and starts listing: “That is Charlotte, Eugene, Renate, Lindsey, Luisa … “ And we instantly realise that what she has said is actually true! Amazing!

“The bull … we rent” – explains Katrin. “He is such a nice one. He moos all the time – when he is happy, sad or wants to tell us something. He would moo every time someone enters the yard. He is just like a dog!”

Julien being out in the fields taking advantage of the nice sunny weather and spreading the fertilizer, Katrin hands us over to her sister Rachel, who deals with the ice-cream machine. She shows us the different flavours that she uses. “Sometimes we add dad’s fruit to it too.” – she says referring to the several fruit trees that grow in the shadow of the stables and also in the tiny greenhouse. “Dad” is Katrin and Rachel’s father, a 82-year-old gentleman, now retired, but still helping her daughters managing the farm. “We would run to him each time we need advice” – the girls admit.

Rachel serves us with delicious vanilla ice-cream and – as time is flying – we say goodbye to this charming family and the wonderful “Guernsey-ladies”. Many thanks for the great visit.

By Judit Čović (HU), leader of EUROPEA Editorial Group

Pics: Judit (HU) and Pedro (PT) 🙂