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Hurray , our winter gleaners are here !

It is always good to hear the chack chack of our winter visitors from Scandinavia and further East from Siberia . They are come to feast on the apples and Mervyn is here to ring them , weigh and measure and not their condition  – all useful information for the British Ornithological Trust.

Castle fruit Farm Open Sunday

This Sunday June 9th. Guided walks round our beautiful and bountiful orchards. Bug, Botany and Birds walks
Observation Bee Hive, Moth Trap – lots of juice and cakes !
10.30am – $pm

LEAF Farm Open Sunday June 9th 2019

 

Come and see a working commercial fruit farm which  also wins awards for its care of the environment.Including Guided walks, and Bees, Birds and Moths as special interest sessions.

Sunday June 9th between 10.30am and 4pm at Castle Fruit Farm on the B4215 between Newent and Dymock. More information to follow here and on our Facebook page. Weather looking good ! Apple Juice and cake and teas available.

Spring is round the corner

Wow ! So pleased to find such a large snakeskin in the garden.

Castle Fruit Farm High Spots in 2017.

  • Successful growing and harvesting season.Bumper crops thanks to our great team here and our summer family of harvest workers.
  • Richie and Claire have added a new Baby Bentley,baby Maddie to the team.
  • Having our work recognised by several awards this year.
  • Seeing signs of increasing diversity of natural life on the farm
  • Taking part in the Ledbury Food Group photo year project.
  • Working with our new partner Prima Fruit was a pleasure and a success for both parties

Challenges for 2018:

The impact of Brexit is still unclear both for our farm and all others who need seasonal labour. Listening to the current debate, not much has changed and there has been very little response from the government, who do not appear to understand the consequences to the rural economy, food security and the survival of our agricultural and horticultural sector.

  • Harvest seasonal labour is not an immigration issue! It is a result of Brexit.
  • Our thriving horticultural and agricultural businesses are an important part of the rural economy. If we no longer invest and disappear , the knock on effect on the rural economy would be significant.
  • Food security : the less we grow , the more we import and everything that means for all of us : prices, the satisfaction of knowing where our food comes from among many.
  • The answers are not mechanisation – this may help in the future but is not an answer to this issue now.
  • There will never be the numbers of skilled harvest workers available locally. The industry requires 1000s of workers  for intense seasonal work – this does not fit the profile of those seeking work in UK as it did in the past where mainly women and itinerant workers were our harvesters. All first world countries bring in seasonal labour to harvest their produce
  • Our conclusion is there is a clear need for the introduction of an updated Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme-and fast as the growing season is starting

As we put on another jumper or two (or three)it is concerning that our first workers of the season are rightly nowhere to be seen and yet in 3 weeks the first blossom should be appearing requiring that army of pollinators which starts the wonderful process of fruit development. Help ! Global weather patterns are different this year and we can only hope our vast numbers of hoverflies, bees, and other pollinators are going to come out of the woodwork and temperatures will rise.

Bentleys Fruit Farm Orchard Blossom
Bentleys Fruit Farm Orchard Blossom coming soon!

And so no doubt the challenges will continue in 2018 and we will endeavour to surmount them. Increasingly we are focussing on building the biodiversity on the farm with bug hotels, log piles, pollinator seed mixes, bird boxes and small mammal refuges.We must work with nature as it is our responsibility to hand on this orchard land in good heart to the next generation.

 

Wholesome juice brings Christmas Cheer

Our Christmas gift packs of three x 750ml bottles of wholesome Bentleys juice are perfect for someone who enjoys delicious and healthy local produce. Choose between our apple juice with ginger (which is perfect with whiskey, heated up or as it is); pure apple juice with raspberry; the cold-pressed, orchard pear juice; our mixed or single variety apple juices; or our apple juice with beetroot for those who prefer something a little less sweet. All our juices are made from the orchard fruit that we grow at Castle Fruit Farm, and we have won awards for the flavour of our produce and our sustainable methods.

The hand-pressed juice is produced on the farm, and it doesn’t contain any additives apart from a very small amount of vitamin C to prevent the juice from discolouring once it is opened. Unopened, the pasteurised juice lasts for 18 months. Most importantly, we think that the flavour of the tree-ripened fruit from our Newent farm can’t be beaten.

Juice makes an excellent gift for people who can’t or prefer not to drink alcohol over the festive period; it is a great winter pick-me-up as and it can be enjoyed by all the family.

We can supply the three bottles of juice in an eye-catching festive presentation box (at £2.50 for each bottle of apple or pear juices, or £2.80 for the juice blends) or provide a mixed box of juices and produce. You’ll be giving something that can’t be bought in the supermarkets, and which supports conservation agriculture and biodiversity. Just give us a ring or stop by our farm shop and let us do the rest.  

Award number three! Waitrose Farming Partnership


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael & Christiana Bentley of Castle Fruit Farm were winners at the 2017 Waitrose Farming Partnership Annual Conference, in the category ‘Farm Risk Assessment’, for their work encouraging biodiversity in a commercially successful orchard.

Read here to find out more about our work to promote biodiversity and to create a sustainable future for our farm. Or get in touch to find out more about our sustainably produced apples, pears, plums and juices.

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