We asked owner, Mike Shorland, to tell us about his dream for a cider orchard, sustainability and plans for the future…
“I left my career in demolition to pursue my dream of planting an orchard and making aspirational ciders and fresh juices. I wanted to grow, not tear down. Create not destroy.
“We have a new 300+ mixed fruit and nut orchard including apples and pears obviously , but also medlars, quinces, mulberries and almonds.
“We have planted a new small woodland copse, formed a wildlife pond, and created habitats. We are managing our hedgerows in the traditional style of laying (on rotation) and even get the scythe out around the trees!
“We are also passionate about helping people with their own orchards, with advice or pruning and swapping apples for finished products at harvest time.
“Devon has lost 90% of its old traditional orchards since the 1940’s but we are now seeing a revival.
“During the summer we open the orchard up for tours and tastings. We have a Blossom day planned and at our mid summer event we watch the sun set over the rolling countryside. We want people to fall in love with orchards again.
“We installed a solar thermal (hot water) system which provides nearly all our hot water. Our next investment will be solar power with battery backup.
“It’s been quite a journey. The highs have been higher than my world before. But the lows have been lower!
“My advice is to do what you love. It’s a lot easier to be successful and if you aren’t – then it doesn’t matter so much
“Probably the hardest mindset change has been adjusting from a control and ‘neat and tidy’ to natural. Nature is quite happy to do its thing if it’s left a little space.”
Mike wrote an article for Cider Review in December 2022. This is the funny and moving story of an orchard dreamer, and how dreams can come true.
‘And then the moment happened. The sun had risen above the terraced roofline… I was filled with the deepest and most natural warmth. I stood. I felt a rare, but moving tingle down the spine. And I knew then that I was going to plant my own orchard. Rows after rows, quincunx upon quincunx.’
We urge you to read this beautiful piece by Mike…