We first stumbled upon Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm around 7 years ago on our last visit to Cornwall, and when we were down there again, it was high on the list of places to visit.
I had memories of delicious cyder/cider/depends on what bottle you read, a factory tour and old fashioned farmyard experience making drinks from apples. A tractor ride through the orchards, and free tasting.
We arrived at Healeys and was shocked to see a huge new entrance area, it looked great, it was a bit out of place with the old farm buildings we remembered, and still stand behind, however it didn’t detract, infact it came across as over the last 7 years, Healeys had gone from strength to strength. Last time we visited they were raving about their new product, the Rattler, and we had only been in the area a few days, and had already seen Rattler bottles everywhere, including the Tesco’s we had popped into to top up our car snacks.
Anyway, in the wandered, and I was surprised to be greeted by large, somewhat empty hall with a few tills, a few old cars and some crates of their products stacked in a corner.
A cheery member of staff greeted us and asked if we had been before. Above everything I couldn’t help but think that the whole atmosphere was wrong, it was too clinical, too clean, too far away from the Healeys I remember. I noticed the price of a tour had gone up from a few pounds to £15 each, I feared that Healeys had fallen to being purely money driven, too corporate and had taken away from its old English style farm I remembered.
We were soon pointed in the direction of the old farm, and from here it all came flooding back. The farmyard animals still had homes, the huge shire horse still watching his head on the low beams, the peacocks wandering around, and it was buzzing, it had an atmosphere of its own, people lapping up the son, drinking Rattler, Cream Teas, and Apple Juice for the kids.
We wandered around and found the free tasting, to which we made sure that the obvious increase in production hadn’t hurt the product, and it really hadn’t, Healeys had stayed as they were, the drinks all some of the best available, and with so a few crates fell into the boot of the car.
After the initial corporate, clinical image portrayed from the new entrance, we were reassured that Healeys, underneath it all, was still as it always was, and we are all stocked up again which will last us a few months, and look forward to returning in future years.