Local Food - News

Sarah and I were pleased to see our volunteers who came to assist with the apple tree planting (ten more trees supplied by LHAP, including some to be turned into family trees). The weather was ideal; no significant rain during the planting, and damp afterwards. A couple of buckets of water were used on each tree to help them establish; the ground is still dry after the summer drought. Thanks Sue and Sarah for another excellent lunch.

tree planting day, Nov 2018.... tree planting day, Nov 2018....

29 Nov 2018

Excellent weather all day made this a very enjoyable event. Sarah showed groups of visitors around the farm for several hours and provided refreshment at regular intervals. There were interesting discussions about why Organic is best, and we learned a little about the cultivation methods used. We look forward to other events in the future, including assistance (perhaps from some of our visitors) in keeping the orchard tidy.

Open Day  Raw n Pure, 2018, Polebrook Hayes Organic Farm.... Open Day  Raw n Pure, 2018, Polebrook Hayes Organic Farm

Open Day  Raw n Pure, 2018, Polebrook Hayes Organic Farm.... Open Day  Raw n Pure, 2018, Polebrook Hayes Organic Farm

Polebrook Hayes Farm Open Day is on Sat 29 September; all welcome. A recent video about the farm was shot by Julie Drake recently. If you'd like to see Sarah taking us on a tour of the site, please click the link. Their produce is entirely organic; the biggest organic producer in Leicestershire.
Tour of Polebrook Hayes Farm

10 Sep 2018

We spent another day recently tidying up the orchard at the Polebrook Hayes Farm near Markfield; the recent dry weather has made things very difficult for young trees, but the vast majority has survived and now we seem to be back to a more normal weather pattern.

Sarah, who runs the orchard, talks about Raw n Pure and her orchard 'maintenance days' in this interview with Ed Stagg of BBC Radio Leicester, recorded when he visited in early August.

13 Jul 2018

We are starting some pages about apple flavours and the importance of expanding the relatively narrow range of apple which is grown in this country. See our starting pages:

Apple Flavours and Tastings 2017.
Apple Flavours and Tastings 2018.

Other pages will be added.

This orchard was planted in November 2016 and was made possible by funding from Greggs Ltd.

Here's a photo from the planting day; you can see the marking-out and holes dug for about 80 trees.

Eight months later the trees are getting established; the orchard looks like this:

As you can see, the site is well-maintained, and the trees are kept tidy by regular weeding, some of it by volunteers.

The orchard consists of a mixture of local and heritage apples, plums, damsons, cherries, pears and mulberries. Large trees which need more sun (the big cookers and the mulberry) are located on the left of the picture, at the back facing south, so they don't shade smaller trees.

We consider it important to maintain genetic diversity; it is not a good idea to focus on a narrow range of varieties. A varied collection offers many advantages; it extends the fruiting season for each kind of fruit and makes the orchard less vulnerable to pests. It also ensures reliability of fruiting; if one variety is frosted, there are plenty of others which flower either earlier or later.

Some of our early apples are shown below. We have others which will ripen much later; one variety is not ready to pick until New Year, and it stores until late May.

fig. 1: Leicestershire Sweetings; ripe on 12 July........... fig.2: Discovery, nearly ripe on 26 July

We are very grateful for the funding from Greggs; without it, the orchard would not exist.

Sarah, Sue, Nigel; 27 July 2017

Tues 22 Nov 2016: The orchard was marked out by Sue, Sarah, Sharon and Nigel, ready for the planting which will take place on Saturday (10-4).

It was a drizzly cold day; Sarah was in charge of the layout, and Sue measured up. The second picture shows Sarah and me attempting to construct a right angle with a tape measure; eventually we got it.

Marking out Botcheston Orchard in the rain ... Marking out Botcheston Orchard in the rain ...

If you are able to help on Saturday, please bring a mug (or you won't be able to collect your coffee and soup), and a camping chair. See you there.

22 Nov 16

ND / habitat21.

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