Thornham orchard holds Apple Day

Sisters Iris (left) and Rose Campbell are spoilt for choice as they pick Bramley apples from a heavily laden tree MLNF15PB09883 ANL-150930-133308001
Sisters Iris (left) and Rose Campbell are spoilt for choice as they pick Bramley apples from a heavily laden tree MLNF15PB09883 ANL-150930-133308001
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Sixty-three years ago, Maj David Jamieson VC, started Drove Orchards at Thornham by planting the first apple trees.

Today that heritage orchard boasts some 150 varieties of mainly East Anglian apples which were on show to visitors at the annual Apple Day last Sunday.

Today’s orchard is mainly the work of his son, Andrew, who is ensuring that rare varieties do not die out.

Separate sections of the orchard feature the apples of Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire as well as Norfolk.

Box after overflowing box of fruit greeted bargain hunters who could buy bagful’s of apples and pears for only £2.

Or if they preferred to pick their own they could wander through the orchard and not only select the apples and pears of their choice but also choose from some ten varieties of plums as well.

“It’s been an absolutely brilliant year for apples. I’ve never seen a year like it,” said Drove Farm’s Karen Rigby.

“We’ve had so many apples we’ve introduced a new juice this year called Summer Blend. It’s made from a mix of Katy, Worcester and Laxton apples with Peasgood, a cooking apple, to give the juice a touch of sharpness.”

Stalls selling mainly apple-related products were arranged in two large barns. One stall, Candi’s Chutney, even offered a chutney made of Bramley apples spiced with CAMRA award-winning Norfolk Black Ale.

Drove Orchards also grow a wide range of other fruits such as quince, damsons, peaches, strawberries, blackcurrants and strawberries but this weekend was all about apples which are reckoned to grow better in this country than anywhere else in the world.