Over the last twelve years we have planted 1000 apple and pear trees. We have selected old traditional varieties such as Ashmead Kernel, Taynton Codlin, Annie Elizabeth, Worcester Permain, Yellow Ingestrie, Lord Lambourne, Howgate Wonder and Egremont Russet. Others are more modern varieties suitable for organic orchards such as Saturn, Cevaal and Rajka.
We aim for minimum intervention from tree to table. Most commercial orchards are managed in order to produce blemish free fruit for the table. We are primarily producing for juicing fruit, and as such we do not have to regularly spray with harmful chemicals.
On our own orchards we use compost, and comfrey as a foliar spray for fertility. Without chemical sprays, the ladybird population explodes and these naturally control greenfly and other bugs that spread viral disease in the orchard.
The trees are grown in permanent pasture. This helps to build carbon levels in the soil, and aids long term fertility. Apples are picked by hand, and milled and pressed in small batches within a day or two of picking. This helps us control quality, and blend the juices to create full flavours. We do not add anything to the juice, and we don't take anything out either! The sediment in the bottle is natural fibre from the apple that can be shaken into the juice before opening, or left in the bottom if carefully poured.
Watch Matt Dunwell's short talk about how we manage our Orchards here at Ragmans Lane Farm (click here)