After several years of investment added 400,000 trees to the landscape, Aston Manor Cider has just completed a record harvest.
The 2017 harvest is a landmark as all new orchards have provided fruit for the first time. The business anticipates yields from the recent planting scheme will continue to increase for a number of years.
As the largest independent cider maker in the UK, this signals the start of a 25-year commitment to farmers and growers across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Based on yield projections of around 20 tonnes of apple from every acre every year, the award-winning cider maker will pay in excess of £55m to farmers and growers for this planting scheme alone.
Rod Clifford, head cider maker at Aston Manor Cider, said: “Despite the timings of this harvest being a little unusual, we were well prepared.
“High winds from the other side of the Atlantic meant an early start and lots of fruit in the first few weeks, but thanks to our growers, and our state-of-the-art pressing mill at Stourport-on-Severn, we were up to the challenge and harvested a record number of apples.
“The great news is not only the quality of the fruit received but how the harvest impacted the trees themselves.
“I’ve never seen the orchards in such great condition. If winter is kind, spring should see a spectacular show of blossom with the promise of a truly remarkable harvest next year as the new trees continue to mature.”
Gordon Johncox, chief executive of Aston Manor Cider, said: “It is wonderful to see our investments bear fruit this harvest. We embarked on this planting scheme because of the confidence we had in our products, our growers and our future prospects.
“Though we won’t break even on each tree planted for eight or nine years, we are committed to our growers and to the sustainability of the rural economy.
“As these new trees grow and increase the demands of the pressing facility in the coming harvests, we look forward to producing even more award-winning cider.”
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