We have a friendly farmer who also has an overgrown orchard with various apple and pear trees in it. He welcomes us picking the apples every year.
We as a family have a lovely time. It is such a great pastime picking apples, washing and then juicing them. The apple juice only lasts a few days in the fridge and is delicious drunk chilled. The rest of the juice I put in fermenting bin for approximately 8 weeks or until fermentation is complete.
I make cider every year and my tips are to use a mixture of varieties, it improves the flavor. Also I tend to make it in as large a quantity as possible. This year I have got 2 6 galleon drums. 1 is being fermented with natural yeast and the other has had a commercial yeast introduced. When bottling the cider add a small amount of sugar and the cider will go fizzy!
One of the best parts, of course, is the drinking of the cider! On a summers evening cracking a cold bottle of sparkling cider that you know exactly where it has come from and have made yourself is such a treat.