All posts tagged: orchards

We always like receiving updates from fruit growers and cider makers on their crops especially as Somerset was under water for months this year.

No one really knows the full damage that has been caused by the orchards standing in floods. Fruit trees certainly are not suited to wetland habitats. Flooding – or even prolonged water-logging – will kill the fibrous roots (which are incidentally designed to collect water) of fruit trees in a couple of weeks.

The Telegraph reports

The wettest winter on record has left almost 17,500 acres of orchards under threat, and an attempt to restore one of the UK’s native crops could come to nothing as many of the million trees planted over the past decade may be lost

This is the 2014 crop report from Orchard Groundcare:

The season is definitely early, probably the earliest Spring since 2001. The blossom is looking very good on the whole and so far we have had very few insect problems. We are putting out our moth traps and the trees look clean and well.

Frost is forecast for the end of this week and we are crossing our fingers it is not too hard. The pears will be all right because they are past petal fall, and most of the cider varieties are not quite there yet, but the dessert varieties are in danger if the frost is hard.

Falstaff is fine down to about -3 but the Jonagolds may suffer. (In America they hover helicopters over the vineyards to move the air but I don’t think we can quite do that!)

With our new tree plantings we are very excited about the compost we have planted them into. It was put down towards the end of last year and the first thing we noticed when planting was how much easier it has been to dig the holes for the new trees. And the worm activity is astonishing.

The big unknown is about tree recovery after the very wet weather, and that will still be a question mark for a few months to come.

To receive the regular newsletter this report was extracted from – email them here. Their site is a good resource for training events, funding and tips from an active orchard network in the heart of traditional Cider country.

If like me you are raring to break your new years resolutions and join other likeminded people in the 12th night celebrations of Wassailing then look no further than these delicious events around the UK.

These are the listings that I have been sent from other cider heads, if you know of any others – please add to the comments below. Thank you.

Bristol (Brizzle)

  • Thornbury Wassail Saturday 19th Jan, Featuring the Surfin Turnips an Smokey Bastard. The Barrel, Thornbury, Bristol

Channel Islands

Devon

  • Sandford Orchards 11th January EX17 4LW @ 7pm. Torch, wellies and a pagan desire to drive away hoodoo

Herefordshire

Kent

  • Kent Cider – more details soon Private event – do not attend unless invited by organiser

London

West Sussex

Worcester

  • The Fleece Inn Saturday 12th January @ 6.30pm – Worcester WR11 7JE

Somerset

  • Glastonbury Abbey Friday 11th January – Includes a Wassail ceremony in the Abbey orchard and then the chance to warm up with a cider bar, music from the Mangled Wurzels and a Mummers play from Langport Mummers in the town hall

Having a wassail in your own orchard?

Heres how to get it right! Tips for a successful wassail

If you grow apples, be it a single tree or a whole orchard let us know how much you harvested and how affected you have been by the weather this year. Good or bad? Let us know in the comments below.

The following report is from Orchard Pig Groundforce in West Bradley, Somerset.

We are thrilled to report that we have actually finished the harvest.

Some people have not been so fortunate and our hearts go out to them.. we’ve seen lots of waterlogged orchards.

It was a predictably poor crop and a very difficult season. The dessert crop at West Bradley was about 65% of normal, whereas last year was 110%.

The modern plantings on wires have been the least affected by the weather and Falstaff has performed particularly well. Cider fruit has been on average a 45% crop for us as well as everybody else we know, but the trees look good, the fruit bud is forming, a good cold winter is forecast so let’s look forward to next year!

As well as Apple Days every Autumn, blossom events are a very special and seasonal way to celebrate orchards, apples and the coming Summer.

We’ve listed the top three blossom events on Real Cider for your friends and family to visit:

1) Big Apple Blossom Time, Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd May 2010

Each May The Big Apple runs a competition for the craft cider and perry makers of the region (and beyond) to compete for the title of Cider Maker of the Year and Perry Maker of the Year. On the Sunday and Monday the public will be able to taste the entries and judge for themselves. www.bigapple.org.uk/blossomtime

2) Orchard Pig at West Bradley Orchards near Glastonbury, Sunday, 1 May 2011

For a fourth consecutive year Orchard Pig, makers of speciality apple juices and ciders, will welcome visitors for a day of exploration and fun at the 50 acres that make up West Bradley Orchards, owned by Edward and Sally Clifton-Brown.

Pigs, cider and apple blossom – another treat on the Royal Wedding weekend!

West Bradley Orchards, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 8LT – Open 10.30 – 5.00

Enquiries to Orchard Pig 01458 851222 www.orchardpig.co.uk

3) Farming and the Landscape Exhibition on 7 and 8 May 2011 at Neroche Hall

Orchards will feature in this event which is open to the public 10am to 5pm and light refreshments will be available  FREE daily.

The exhibition will have the theme of  farming today – from a County-wide perspective and, more locally, in the shadow of the Blackdowns, farming in living memory and farming in Victorian times.

Full directions to be venue are available on the Neroche Hall website www.nerochehall.org.uk Neroche Hall, Bickenhall, TA3 6TY

Happy blossom time!

Don’t forget to let us know if you have any other events you would like us to mention by leaving your comments below.

Also if you go to any blossom events please add your photos to our Real Cider Gallery

Last year the National Trust and Natural England launched a project aimed at halting the decline in traditional orchards.

The organisations claimed that 60% of England’s orchards had disappeared since the 1950s and that some areas, including Devon, had lost almost 90%.

They argued that if nothing was done, what was once a focal point for communities across the country and a crucial habitat for wildlife could be wiped out.

Another charity that campaigns on rural issues, the Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT), also expressed alarm at Alistair Darling’s announcement. It argued that as well as providing wildlife habitats, cider and cider apples were “important to the culture” of the West Country.

‘We now have a real opportunity to reverse the decline of traditional orchards and recognise the important role they play in our cultural and natural heritage; if we don’t act there is a real danger that they will not survive the twenty-first century. Kate Merry, Orchard Officer, The National Trust

How you can make a difference!

You do not have to own an orchard to do something positive. Attending an Apple Day is an excellent and fun way to find out more and meet some orchard experts. You may have a Community Orchard in your area – to find out where they are, or for advice about starting one yourself you can contact Common Ground. Many counties have an Orchard Group which you can join. These groups and also local colleges often run workshops in fruit tree pruning and propagating techniques.

You could plant your own fruit tree – a local variety will be suited to your region’s soil type and climate and so will grow well. You could do some research into rare, local varieties and help to ensure their survival. Specialist nurseries will be able to help. Try to buy orchard produce such as fruit, cider, juice and chutney from local markets and suppliers.

More information on the orchard project and details of how people can plant their own traditional orchard or get involved email: [email protected]

CNN interviews Mike Johnson of Ross Cider and finds out what makes their collection of perry pears so special. The video also includes a brief tour around the orchards, and of course a tasting. Ross cider farm is located between the Herefordshire and Welsh borders.