Pruning By Numbers

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Pruning an apple tree can be a daunting prospect, but try not to give into your fear.  Planting a tree and walking away to leave it to its own devices is not advisable. Trees that are not pruned will produce less fruit over time and the branches will become congested and diseased. Pruning does not need to be complicated. Taking time to understand the theory behind it certainly helps. It’s also useful to bear in mind the number 3. You’ll be surprised how often it turns up when you are making your pruning decisions. Continue reading

Cider: An Ancient Beverage

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It’s official. December was the warmest since records began in 1910. It was also one of the wettest. This unseasonable  weather put our schedule for picking and processing apples in a constant state of flux. We began picking dessert fruit to press for apple juice a good three weeks earlier than in previous years. By the middle of December, cider apples, that last year we were harvesting in January, were already beginning to rot on the ground. Despite this, we bottled nearly three thousand litres of apple juice and our first batch of cider is fermenting nicely.

Cider is one of the oldest fermented beverages in the world. No-one knows when cider production first began, but it has provided humans with a safe drink for centuries.
Continue reading

Windfalls: A Winter Feast For Wildlife

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As autumn flows seamlessly into winter, our orchards are still full of activity. Windfalls provide a vital source of late food for many species of birds and mammals. Fieldfares, redwings, mistle and song thrushes, blackbirds, jays all have a liking for ripe apples, as do badgers, foxes, hedgehogs and hares.  Continue reading

Orchard Origins’ Volunteers: Clare’s Story

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Herefordshire is one of many Wildlife Trusts to run a nature-based social enterprise to improve people’s mental and physical wellbeing.  They are doing so because a huge body of research shows that access to nature has great benefits for people, among them reduced depression, obesity and diabetes. Mental ill health costs the UK £105.2 billion in 2009-2010 (The Centre for Mental Health). One study suggests green therapy could save the NHS £2.1bn a year.

This is Clare’s story on how volunteering with Orchard Origins has helped her.  Continue reading

Great Offer From PTES For Traditional Orchard Owners

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The Peoples Trust for Endangered Species is offering to fund replacement planting for traditional orchards that are in need of new trees. This to ensure that these orchards survive for the next hundred years and beyond.

This fantastic offer is open to any owner or manager of an existing traditional orchard be it a community orchard, or a privately-owned or managed orchard. The grants can cover the cost of the trees themselves, or the cost of rootstocks onto which existing varieties in your orchard, or a variety of your choice, can be grafted. Continue reading

First Juicing Contract Completed = One Happy Customer

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Capture the unique taste of your orchard in a bottle.

Orchard Origins can make the most of your apple crop so that it can be enjoyed throughout the year.

We specialise in small batch processing (50-700kg)

We only press ripe apples giving your juice a full and aromatic flavour

We do not filter juice, ensuring a high level of natural fruit fibre is retained

We typically add a small amount of Vitamin C to prevent the juice from browning, but if you prefer we can refrain

Bottled juice is gently pasteurised, giving most juices a shelf life of two years

We use green glass bottles which helps protect your juice from premature deterioration

All proceeds go towards supporting the environmental and social aims of Orchard Origins.

Contact Julia or Laurence for more information at orchards@herefordshirewt.co.uk or call them on 01432 356872

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Picking Apples For Juicing: Why Timing Is Important

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This year has been an exciting one for Orchard Origins, launching as a Community Interest Company and getting ready for our first season of juicing and cidermaking in our purpose-made workshop, hereafter known as the Shed.  Last year’s harvest was a challenge for us as we got the Shed up and running; this year we are clean, clear and ready for action – we’ve even washed the crates in anticipation.  Cider apples are going to be a little while as their high sugar levels take a long time to develop, but why haven’t we started picking for juice yet? Continue reading