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Pershore College's Juicing Enterprise
To bring value to the (sound) ‘grade-out’ apples grown on their 5 hectare orchard, Pershore College began producing apple juice in 1993 with equipment supplied by Vigo. In 2007, Richard Toft was recruited as the Development Manager of Pershore’s juicing enterprise and the college now sells 40,000 bottles of 'Avonbank' juice, cider and perry per year.
Pershore College's Filtration Requirement
Cross flow was the chosen method of clarifying cider in Pershore’s juicing enterprise. As opposed to plate filtration or earth filtration, Richard regards cross flow as the only economically viable method as day to day filtration consumables are eliminated, and if looked after, the filter cartridge of cross flow filter should last many seasons.
The manufacturer of the 15 year old single unit cross flow filter the juicing enterprise were using was bought up by another group who no longer supported the filter. With a new filtration element required, Richard had no option but to source another filter. He did some investigation and could only find industrial scale cross flow filters which were outside of his budget and with throughputs far in excess of his requirements. Richard challenged Vigo to find a solution.
Vigo supplied Pershore College with a Bared B1 Cross Flow Filter, with a flow rate of 700 litres per hour. Bared have specialised in membrane technologies for the drinks industry for over 30 years. Their cross flow filters include a feeding pump to draw the product from a storage tank, a circulation pump to circulate the product through the filtering module and a back wash system.
With the old single unit cross flow filter, Richard could filter 1000 litres per day. He would start it up at 8am and turn it off at midnight. With the Bared filter, Richard filters the same quantity within one hour. Product loss is low - between 3 and 4% - which he said is much lower than loss levels you would get from an earth filter, plate filter, or bigger unit. He reports that the filter is simple to use and the supervision required is totally dependent on the capacity of the product tanks being used. He is able to filter between 2,000 and 3,000 litres of product before he operates the back-wash system on the filter.
Richard provided the following feedback:
‘I have been working with Vigo in excess of 20 years and have faith that they give good customer service. They are value for money, which keeps me going back to them. I still have the original apple press that they supplied me 22 years ago and Vigo can still supply every part we need – that is value for money.
Vigo found me a cross flow filter so that the juicing enterprise could stay in business. If they hadn’t have found me one, the whole business would have folded. Our current facility was originally funded as a business support unit for the local Cider (and apple juice) industry. Our major USP is to provide quality bottling services (filtration and carbonation) to customers wanting smaller bottling runs - this could be NPD for larger businesses, through to smaller customers only wanting a few hundred/thousand litres doing one batch. Cross flow is integral to the services we provide. We provide a unique and vital service to the industry within the three counties.
I work for a public institution. I have to have the back up and parts from suppliers to know that I am not buying a white elephant. Value for money isn’t buying something cheaper – but is having backup.’
Pershore's Juicing Enterprise
Pershore College is part of the Warwickshire College Group and specialises in land-based learning with courses ranging from horticulture and arboriculture to animal welfare and veterinary nursing, at further and higher education level. As an RHS Regional Centre the college also offers practical, part-time horticulture and gardening courses.
Fruit and vegetables are grown on-site on 14 hectares, which includes 0.5 hectares certified as Organic by the Soil Association and 5 hectares of apple orchards. Crops include apples, plums, currants and cherries, all of which are grown to Assured Food Standards and in accordance with the Red Tractor scheme. Under its ‘Avonbank’ brand, the college sells 25-30 tonnes of fruit to supermarkets and greengrocers each year.
Soon after going into juice production, the college started offering a contract bottling service to fruit farms in the area. This served two purposes: it offered the growers a way of increasing their revenue by turning their own out-grades or excess fruit into saleable apple juice, and it enabled the college to run their juice production equipment at full capacity throughout the season.
Pershore's juicing enterprise now sells over 40,000 bottles of Avonbank cider, apple juice and perry to local independent retailers. Their premium apple juices include Apple & Ginger, and Apple & Blackcurrant. Awards include 3* Gold at the Great Taste Awards 2012 for their Concorde Pear Juice and Organic Medium Cider. Under Richard’s management, the contract bottling enterprise now extends to a wide range of drinks including cider, wine, cordials and carbonated soft drinks. As a result of the success of the juicing enterprise, Pershore College is now one of the leading providers of professional development courses to the apple juice and cider industry, all taught by Richard.
Vigo has 30 years of experience in the supply of
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