Our Organic Apples

We primarily produce dessert apples organically. From the old favourites like Worcester Pearmain and Egremont Russet, to the more modern Estival, Early Windsor and Pinova, we aim to market varieties at their prime over a three to four month period. We also grow a small crop of the ‘King of Cookers', The Bramley. These huge bright green apples combine a wonderful sweetness with great natural acidity. When stewed, they break down to foaming perfection - the only filling for a crumble or a pie!

As with any perennial crop, the number of pests and diseases is myriad; most are hugely detrimental to yield and marketable quality. The range of problems probably makes producing apples under a fully organic system the most demanding of all crops.

Since the late 1980's, we have attempted to devise a system of producing a regular crop of organic apples of a commercial quality and yield. Our experience with our customers has also influenced this development, as very few appeared to buy apples just because they were organically grown, but rather because they were organically grown versions of varieties that they already enjoyed.

This added to the problem, as most of the apples with the finest eating qualities had been bred for just that, they had no resistance to disease at all. The exception to this was the fabulous mid season apple, the Worcester Pearmain bred by Mr Hale in 1873 and the backbone of the industry for almost 100 years, which has a good resistance to Apple Scab.

We planted an orchard of Worcester Pearmain in 1988; we have had mixed results, but have learned a great deal. We have gradually improved our success rate as organic management tools and inputs have advanced culminating in a record crop in 2007; the 2008 crop exceeded all expectations in both size and quality, and was again of record size; 2009 and 2010 produced a slightly smaller crop, but in both years, the fruit far exceeded previous years in both finish and eating quality.

In 2007, we planted the Organic Concept Orchard. A page is devoted to this project

Our fresh production is tree ripened and marketed direct to retail customers or via the wholesale markets ; outgrades are mainly sold into the processing sector, although in autumn 2008, five varieties were pressed and bottled as single variety juices as part of an economics project we ran jointly with our partners at Maidstone Grammar School for Girls to raise money for the refurbishment of the domestic science kitchen. In under a year and entirely funded by money raised by the children and parents, this kitchen is fully up and running.

How we do it



Organic Apples in the concept orchard

  • Prepare the ground
  • Erect the concrete post structure
  • Pre-planting orchard preparation
  • Plant the trees
  • Install the wirework
  • Light prune
  • The orchard in early July 07
  • Cut and mulch the clover July 07
  • Organic Braeburn August 07
  • Organic Pinova September 07
  • Organic Pinova November 07
  • One year on - July 08

 These steps chart the establishment of the 'concept' orchard and may be viewed in the gallery section