Apple blossom time at Ringmer Community Orchard

Peter May dropped into the Flourish office to discuss our annual three-day apple-based training course with Plumpton College interns at Ringmer Community Orchard. This takes place around apple-picking time in the autumn.

Peter gave us an update on orchard news.

  • There are 24 types of apples varieties growing at the orchard, plus five pear and four plum.
  • Planting cherry trees has been discussed with the members, but decided against, because the birds would get most of the fruit. Having apricots and peach trees has also been discussed - some growers have planted these on the High Weald, but it's felt that the community orchard is not the right place for them.
  • Nearer the carpark, apple trees have been planted whose rootstock is better suited to the damper conditions there.
  • A new quince tree has been planted this year.

Becoming a member of Ringmer Community Orchard


 Volunteer Orchard co-ordinator Katharine Finnigan tells us a bit about the orchard:
"We've been running since 2005 at Broyle Place Farm, on land kindly donated by Anthony Tasker. We manage the orchard organically, encouraging wildflowers and native grasses.
We offer free training to members on how to look after the trees to increase people's skills which will protect the orchard longer term.

There are currently about 30 members, with more joining every year. We always welcome more people and their families.

Membership costs £25 per annum if people put in six  hours work at the orchard per year, or £30 to adopt a tree - with no requirement to help out.

Members get a share of the apples, pears and plums and are encouraged to enjoy the lovely space at the Orchard with friends and families or on one of the organised group activity dates.
Most of the apples picked by members on harvesting day are taken to Ringden Farm near Flimwell to be pressed, bottled and pasteurised. Members can then buy the bottles for £2 each. Juice is also sold to the wider public for £3 a bottle to generate income.
The orchard produced about 400 bottles of apple juice last year. Fresh apple juice is produced by hand press on Harvest Day. It's is not the most efficient way of juicing, but it is great fun, and makes for a nice harvesting day."
More information here. And if you'd like to become a member, email Katharine, katharinefinnigan@gmail.com