In the hot seat

Pat Mckeever, managing director of Long Meadow Cider

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m Pat McKeever from Long Meadow Cider. We’ve been growing and harvesting apples for over three generations and recently diversified into the cider industry in 2014. We now produce a selection of craft ciders, apple juice and apple cider vinegar; all of course produced from our home-grown fruit.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE?
Days on Long Meadow Farm vary depending on the time of year and season. Currently we are preparing for harvest and making sure the orchards are in top shape for the busy few months ahead. Orchard work can vary from pruning, mowing and spraying to generally ensuring everything is as it should be.
As we’re now also involved with the cider industry, a day can involve anything from pressing apples to blending apples and ensuring the taste is just right before being bottled, a very difficult job but there’s always people willing to help for some reason.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
The highlight of my career to date has been the introduction and growth of our family business, Long Meadow Cider. Never did we anticipate when we first started out it would reach the stage it has. There’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears but it has been worth it all. Hopefully it will be a business that passes on through the generations.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love working outdoors whether it’s pruning, mowing the orchards or getting apple bins out in the orchards in preparation for harvest. I love the variance of what I do as each day can be completely different.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK?
Sometimes trying to fit everything into a day’s work. It can be difficult at times juggling both apple orchards and cider making and we’ve also recently started orchard tours as well with some cider sampling of course. We don’t have average working hours, we’re usually working late into the evenings, especially at harvest time, or if we’re getting ready for a cider event the following day.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
If you’re going to do something do it right – take no shortcuts. Best advice given to me by my father Peter McKeever.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE?
As like most farmers, the weather is my biggest gripe. It can be very frustrating when work has to be carried out in the orchards and there’s persistent rain, especially at harvest time.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS AND AMBITIONS?
I would like to see Long Meadow Cider grow into a well-known, recognisable brand within other countries. To say across the world would may be too ambitious but you never know. We have big plans already in place for a tearoom/farm shop, so there are definitely exciting times ahead. We want people to be able to come and relax in an orchard setting and experience its true beauty regardless of the season.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE?
Home.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT?
A huge steak, medium to rare with all the trimmings.

HOW DO YOU RELAX?
With a cool refreshing glass of Long Meadow Cider at a gathering of family and friends.

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