Finally, this year’s most elusive weather element has appeared – sunshine and warmth! Hoorah! Bud movement has already been rapid since the weekend so I can confirm that the blossom weekend will be held on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of April. We will be open between 10am – 4pm each day and hopefully the weather will continue in its current vein and we’ll have an enjoyably warm weekend surrounded by beautiful cherry blossom.
HOG ROAST, CREAM TEAS, ICE CREAMS & BAR
On both days we will have a hog roast on offer if you wish to enjoy some locally sourced produce in the cherry orchard. The hog will be available from around noon onwards. There will also be a delicious hand –made vegetarian option available from the cream tea/bar area in the form of cold quiches and tarts etc which will be available all day. From 10am we will have bacon and sausage butties available and also hot and cold drinks. We will also have cream teas available with cherry jam and the scones will all have been hand-made by The Halt pub, from Salehurst. They will also be providing a fully licensed bar with a great selection of award winning local bitters, beers, ciders, wines and soft drinks available all day.
We will also have our mouth watering hand-made cherry choc chip ice cream on sale as well as a selection of other ice creams and lollies. Perfect now that summer is clearly here!!
If however you would like to bring a picnic, do please feel free and you’re more than welcome to enjoy this in the orchard surrounded by blossom next to your tree. Please also remember to bring your cameras with you. Dogs are also more than welcome as long as they are well behaved and kept on a lead at all times – we have a stand pipe at the orchard entrance that you can get water from for them, so please bring their bowls!
To try and keep the children entertained and to go home with some extra bits of knowledge, there will also be children’s clues for children to find. Sweets will be given out to those who complete the children’s clues and get most of the answers correct – have Google to the ready on your phone as my niece does the quiz for me and some of the questions aren’t the easiest!!
LOCAL HOME-MADE PRODUCE AND FARMER’S MARKET
There will also be some great local produce on sale over the weekend, so if you wish you will be able to take home a selection from the following: We will have an award winning local cheese maker, local Rhubarb, and hopefully there should be Kentish Asparagus. We may also have some English Strawberries. We will also have a selection of locally produced hand-made wild boar sausages and smoked meats so you can stock up for your summer BBQs!
There will also be an array of Kentish fruit infused Vodkas, Gins, Brandy and Rums for sale. We will have all of the following available to try and buy: Cherry Brandy, Cherry Vodka, Raspberry Gin, Raspberry Vodka, Gooseberry Gin, Rhubarb Vodka, Blackcurrant Gin, Blackcurrant Vodka, Blackcurrant Rum, Redcurrant Vodka, Redcurrant Gin, Blackberry Vodka, Blackberry Brandy, Damson Vodka, and Damson Whisky.
Our fantastic Cherry Juice will also be on sale and every 1 litre bottle of the cherry juice contains 3kgs of cherries and no added sugar or water so it really is as fantastic as it sounds!
PLEASE BRING CASH FOR ALL PURCHASES AS NO CARD FACILITIES WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE FARM.
We’ll also have cherry de-stoners for those who intend to make your own jam later in the year! There will also be jars of honey available from last year’s honey crop taken from the hives in the orchard.
ORCHARD WALK & TALK
Also from 11am -3pm each day I will take a group with me around the orchard and give a talk on growing cherries, tree physiology, bud development, pollination and answer your questions about whatever else intrigues you and why we do things the way we do in the orchard. These will last approximately 30 minutes and will be roughly every hour.
At the moment in the orchard, the Kordia are just starting to show tips of white on the buds (white bud), with all the other varieties not too far behind at various stages of bud swell and bud break, so with the continued warmer weather forecast I‘m sure the majority of the buds will have broken into flower by the 28th. A weed control has now been applied under the trees which you’ll see the results of when you come and visit and really stops the weeds taking away the nutrients that the trees need, and that we’re feeding them with.
Due to all the wet weather we’ve only being able to get back into the orchards with the tractor at the end of last week, and even then it was too wet in an ideal world to guarantee not getting stuck. The only option to be able to crack on in such condition is to fill the sprayer only about a quarter full of water/feeds so you’re not trying to pull too much weight behind you – 250kgs as opposed to the normal 1000kg! It’s a real bore and takes at least 50% longer to spray all the orchards (due to the constant re-filling) with the foliar feeds we need to put on to feed the trees with, but at least it meant we could get the job done.
With the rapidity of the bud movement that will occur this week due to the warm/hot weather forecast we will most likely feed the trees every 5-7 days as the nutrients within the trees will get very stretched and the trees will be put under a high stress load, especially considering how cold and wet the ground was, just last week. We will feed all the trees with a combination of foliar feeds in the form of liquid seaweed, and a Nitrogen based foliar feed that also has the correct proportions of Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Calcium.
Over the next 10 days we will also carry on with the remaining tree work, lots of foliar feeding and making a start on putting on the cherry nets on the days in between!
HOW TO GET TO THE ORCHARD
The full address of the orchard is Cooks Yard Farm, New Road, Northiam, East Sussex, TN31 6HS.
The parking will be in a field that is immediately accessible as you turn off the A28 into New Road. This field will be signposted and there will be someone at the entrance to show you where to park. If this field becomes full, you will be able to park in the field diagonally opposite our main parking field and then cross the road, however please be careful crossing this fast moving road. For disabled badge access you may come up into the farm yard which is 100 yards further up New Road but this will strictly be for dropping off purposes as there is no spare room in the yard.
We are located just outside the village of Northiam (in the direction of Hastings). Travelling on the A28 from the direction of Hastings towards Northiam you will travel through the village of Broad Oak and you then need to take the second turning on your left up a lane called New Road which is after about 2 miles. The parking is immediately on your right.
Coming in the other direction on the A28 from the Hawkhurst or Tenterden direction you need to go through the village of Northiam and after leaving the village there is a Vets on your right called `Badger’s Oak’ and New Road is the third turning on the right after about a third of a mile. There is a detailed map on the contact page of the website.
Fingers crossed all round for some lovely weather over the 2 days and we really look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.