First thing first. We don’t use chemicals in our orchard. We aren’t certified organic because that’s a big cost for a little player, but we don’t use chemicals on anything we’re going to eat – it’s as simple as that. Glad that’s sorted.
We supply our local farm shop in Melbourne, and also sell the fruit in season at the front as garden gate sales.
With over 70 different varieties of fruit tree, there is sure to be something that tickles your fancy. For the discerning home cook we have varieties specifically developed for certain uses. With current supermarkets offering nothing beyond the Gala, Granny Smith and Bramley, our orchard supplies fruit you can only dream of and possibly never heard of.
For puree try the Warner’s King from the 1700s – less acid than a Bramley.
For the Derbyshire at heart, we have our very own Newton Wonder, first discovered in Kings Newton near Melbourne.
From even further back in time we have the Catshead apple, dating to the 1600s and named for the shape of the fruit which resembles its namesake. The puree you can make with it is a good firm, slightly acidic, texture needing very little sugar. It is also great for apple jam recipes.
As for eating apples, we have the 1685 Devonshire Quarrenden, a deep red skin giving it the appeal any wicked witch would admire and a taste with a distinctive strawberry flavour.
When it comes to pears, we have possibly the oldest variety in the UK, in the shape of the Black Worcester. First mentioned at the Cistercian Abbey of Warden in Bedfordshire in 1388, it is thought to have been brought to England by the Romans. As an eating pear it is nothing special – hard and coarse. But when cooked it is sublime, keeping its shape well.
Another cooking pear is the French Catillac – perfect for those French recipes such as Pear Tarte Tatin.
If you’re looking for an eating pear, nothing in our opinion can beat the Beurre Hardy. A large, juicy fruit with a faint rose scented flesh, soft and delicate.