The orchard is just under two acres with over thirty mature standard fruit trees of between 70 –100 years old; mostly cider apples but also culinary and dessert types and a couple of plum trees that produce delicious fruit. In 2006 this number was more than doubled by a frenzy of planting of traditional Devon apple types such as the Ice Apple, Quench, Devon Crimson Queen and Oaken Pin. For variety we added pears, cherries (mazzards), gages, plums such as the local Landkey Yellow, Dittisham and other types of damson, medlars and a mulberry.
Apple juice and cider making
Cider making and apple juicing has been happening in and around Dartmoor for hundreds of years. We make sparkling and still cider from a mix of bittersweet and sweet cider apples with some Bramleys for extra flavour, fermented with wild yeast. Juices are made from single variety juices and blends. The orchard has a lot of Blenheim Orange apples - very sweet, in fact too sweet as a single variety juice - but superb when blended with Egremont Russet and Bramley (ratio of 1:2:1). The best single variety juices so far are Allington Pippin and Ellisons Orange.
Apple and orchard day
For those with an orchard or planning to plant one we run an Apple and Orchard day in October, investigating the orchard and its trees, looking at planting and layout and protecting the trees to allow orchard grazing. We will pick, mill and press apples and make juice and learn how to make cider and cider vinegar and you will be able to take home some of your juice to remind you of your day. We will look at methods of preserving and the equipment you need to do this in your own kitchen. We aim to leave you feeling confident in making the best of your orchard fruit.