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t’s been a little while since I last wrote in May and we are now at the stage of the year when we see the fruits of our labours, harvest time is here.

Blackcurrant harvest started in July and we will finish in the next couple of days. Following such a huge crop last year yields have been rather disappointing, mainly due to the very mild winter and lack of ‘winter chill’ which the bushes need for maximum fruit production. Quality however has been excellent with high sugar levels, helped by the sunshine. The majority of the fruit is harvested into bins and sent down to Thatcher’s cider in Somerset for processing and ultimately being made elsewhere into Ribena. Some is picked into shallow trays for freezing and this ends up in frozen desserts. If you are interested to read more about this wonderful healthy fruit have a look at this great website.

The cider fruit is looking really good following an excellent fruit set and the apples are growing well. Harvesting of the early varieties won’t start until mid- September and any rainfall prior to harvest will help to swell the fruit and improve yields.

Now that we have had some fine dry weather we are able to spend some much needed time on ‘winter work’. Over the last two years we have had some pretty bad flooding in the middle of the farm which has led to water logging in the orchards and the loss of 200 apple trees. The main ditch through the farm has now been deepened and this will ensure all the surface water drains down to the local stream and into the River Wye.

If you read my blog in May you will remember that we spent time grafting new apple trees onto old root stocks. This photo shows the tremendous growth from the graft in just 4 months.