The September pick of the month in The Lightbox Café is the delicious, locally made cider from The Garden Cider Company. Created in 2010 by Ben and Will Filby, the idea is simple, they make a range of hand crafted premium ciders sourced entirely from local, donated garden apples.

We love that you make cider from unwanted apples, what made you come up with the idea?

The idea really evolved from a desire to make cider coupled with the realisation that we didn’t want to buy apples and didn’t have any space to plant trees. We knew that our old family tree used to produce large harvests that would generally end up on the lawn. Guessing that the apple tree is common in gardens, and most of the apples would be going to waste we came up with the idea of using other peoples spare apples, in return for their apples, those wishing to donate could receive a share of the cider made back for free. We are proud to take an abundant, largely wasted natural resource and turn it into sustainable, ethical and quality products.

What’s the process, from garden to cider?

The process is simple, those wishing to donate fruit must first register through the website, once registered they are then part of the community and will receive the details about opening times and days. Once open the members can bring their fruit to us, the apples need to be ripe and in good condition though. We weigh the fruit and issue a receipt for the cider produced, which is ready for collection the following year.

If people want to donate their unwanted apples, how should they get in touch?

The scheme is open to anyone over the age of 18 with apples, to take part, please visit our website. Please note that due to on-going building work at the farm, we will not be opening for apples until the end of September. We will keep the website updated.

And finally, we have to ask, what do you like about The Lightbox?

What we like about The Lightbox is the calming space and location in the centre of Woking, it has a tranquil atmosphere and charm.

Each year over 4000 local households take their spare garden fruit and in return receive a share of the cider made back for free – including one of our Trustees Chris Lacey! Chris told us what he likes about The Garden Cider Company:

 “In a bumper year for apples such as this year, there is only so much apple pie and chutney that we can produce and it is a shame to let such lovely fruit go to waste, so the idea that my spare apples could contribute to a local co-operative in such a way really appeals. Taking my apples to the Surrey Garden Cider Company ticks all the sustainability boxes for me and provides a wonderfully delicious windfall, some 6 months after harvest. So, next Spring I can look forward to a few personalised bottles of my own but I’m also delighted to hear that the cider is now available at The Lightbox.”

Thank you to Ben for answering our questions, make sure you pop in to try some of the delicious cider! A selection of cider from The Garden Cider Company is available to buy in our Café

Did you know that our Café has been chosen as a finalist for the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015 tea/coffee shop of the year? We are very excited and would like to thank everyone who nominated us – winners will be announced on 10 September, wish us luck!