If you could plant one apple tree in your garden, what would it be?
To some of the Cider Workshop members, this answer will tell them a lot about a person – and if you answered ‘Bramley’ then they may encourage you to consider the options first!
If you work on the premise that to make good cider you need good apples (the same applies with Pears, incidentally), then the type and variety of fruit you have is important. By important, we mean that the type and style of cider or perry you wish to make should be reflected in your choice of varieties to grow (e.g. bitterweet and bittersharp varieties for west country style cider).
If you decide to grow some yourself, then making sure that the tree that bears the fruit is healthy and well kept is also of great importance.
There are lots of very good resources available for information about choosing, growing and managing fruit trees. Follow the links for information on specialist nurseries (these are nurseries we have experience of), and the basics of selecting and planting trees. There is also a link for those of us who want to show off our orchards (no matter how large or small).
This section of the website would be incomplete without a reference to Fruitwise, a couple in Hampshire who have spent the last 15 years or so developing a 5 acre orchard. For their experience visit Fruitwise. Stephen Hayes has kindly agreed to share his orcharding expertise with the Cider Workshop, and you will find various references and links throughout this section.
Many of the images used in this section are also from Fruitwise, and we are grateful for the permission to use these too. The main images are courtesy of Andrew Lea.
If you have any tales to tell about orcharding, or want to share images and a description of your orchard, please do let us know on the Google group.