Orchard Origins has been busy getting ready for the Spring Greens Fair on 3 and 4 May at Court of Noke, Staunton-on-Arrow, Herefordshire HR6 9HW. The Orgasmic Cider company kindly allowed us to use their bottling and pasteurising equipment for a day so that we could bottle our own cider.
The Spring Greens Fair is a great day out for all the family. You can watch demonstrations of traditional crafts, listen to live music and poetry, sample freshly prepared food and drinks or just stroll around the beautiful grounds. Orchard Origins will be running the cider bar on both days, so come and enjoy our craft cider and apple juice in this magnificent setting.
Orchard Origins is entering an exciting new phase as it becomes a Community Interest Company. We currently help maintain eleven acres of orchard owned and managed by the Herefordshire Nature Trust, as well as over twenty or so private orchards. Each week we are contacted by landowners who are keen to work with us. As we grow and take on further orchards, we are on the lookout for more volunteers. If you enjoy being outside and learning new skills or are just keen to understand more about Herefordshire’s orchard heritage why not come and join us? It’s a friendly and fun atmosphere with plenty of tea and coffee breaks.
There is a seasonal rhythm to the orchards. As the cherry and plum blossom begin to fade, the first vivid green leaves on the apple trees start to unfurl. Nestled in the middle are the nascent flower buds that with warm, sunny days will swell. Cherry and plum set the tempo for the annual blossom show, but it is the apple orchards that provide the grand finale. Continue reading
Mental illness is very common. One in four people will experience some form of mental heath problem in their lifetime, such as depression or anxiety, The stigma and discrimination associated with it is wide-reaching, and deeply affects the choices people make. It can have an impact on every aspect of their life; their family and social relationships, education and access to employment. Many feel socially isolated and excluded from their local communities. Research shows that supporting people to be active outdoors benefits their mental wellbeing. Continue reading
Perry Orchard at Davies Meadow
Traditional perry pear orchards are thin on the ground these days, so it was a privilege for Orchard Origins to be invited to help with the winter pruning at Davies Meadow. This ancient pear orchard, which had fallen into neglect, forms part of a 20 acre reserve managed by the Herefordshire Nature Trust. For the last few years, the Trust has been replanting it with traditional perry pear varieties and a few dessert pears.
Swept up in the slipstream of the cider boom, Perry, the fermented beverage produced from perry pears, has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance recently. So, could perry orchards become a more familiar sight in the future?
Orchard Origins was back at Houghton farm this week to finish pruning some two year old apple trees. While we were there, the farmer was keen to get our thoughts on his attempts at pruning a small orchard at the entrance to the farm.
Mixed orchard after pruning
The orchard, a mixture of apple, pear, plum, cherry and greengage, had not been pruned for a number of years and most of the trees had become severely overcrowded. Pruning had successfully opened up the centre of the trees which will improve air circulation and allow in more light.
But, there were also some useful learning points that we thought would be helpful to share on the blog.
- Stone fruit trees, such as cherry, plum and greengage, should only be pruned in the summer to avoid silver leaf disease.
- Restrict branch removal to one third of the total canopy in young vigorous trees; a quarter in old trees
- When cutting a large branch back to another branch [rather than the trunk] ensure that branch is at least one third the thickness of the branch you are cutting. We will blog more on this.
- Always cut branches at the branch collar.
So what and where is the branch collar? Continue reading
Planting a cider apple and perry pear orchard at Houghton Feb 2013
Orchard Origins went back to the Houghton Project this week to prune the apple and pear trees we planted a year ago. Pruning a tree in its early years – known as formative pruning – helps it to develop a strong, basic branch structure. As discussed in a previous post Winter or Summer Pruning, formative pruning is best done in the winter when the tree is still dormant.