Happy New Year and welcome to everyone at the start of another year’s cherry growing.
I have included details below in the orchard update on how this winter is affecting us and what we’ve been up to in the orchards, however before that, a quick summary of what to expect in the next few months.
Please note, if you have received this email but intended the cherry tree to be a gift, please can you let me have the recipient’s full name and contact details so that I can email the newsletters to the correct person and relevant email address?
Occasionally emails do go astray/directed into junk mail so if you haven’t heard from us for a while just check the website as all of the newsletters are also posted on the news page of our website so you can check to see if you have missed a newsletter.
The next newsletter you will receive will be in early March and will give you a brief update on how things are looking for the advent of spring. You will then receive another newsletter in April when there is the first sign of bud break on the cherry trees. This first sign of movement should enable us to give you a rough idea for your diaries on when the blossom walk weekend will be. As a guide, the blossom walk is generally on one of the last 2 weekends in April, or the first weekend in May.
During May and June you will receive a couple of updates, initially on how the blossom has set, and then on how the potential crop is looking and also in mid to late June a rough idea on when the likely picking dates will be for your cherry tree. Again, just as a rough guide, the picking dates for 2017 were as follows. The 2017 picking dates were one week earlier than an average year.
Kordia – 1st – 10th July, Regina –19th – 28th July, Penny & Colney – 7th – 17th July & Sweetheart 14th – 24th July. The picking dates for each variety will always include 2 weekends during the week in question to try to ensure that there is a time that is suitable for everyone to come.
If you are unsure where the cherry orchard is located there is a map on the contact page on the website, however as a guide we are situated just outside the village of Northiam in the direction of Hastings. The orchard is just off the main A28 up a lane called New Road, postcode TN31 6HS.
There is also a section on the website that details the best places to stay if you want to make a weekend out of your trip to the orchard and also the best local attractions and places to eat.
ORCHARD & FARM NEWS
This winter has been a bit of all sorts really, fairly dry initially with some decent cold spells interspersed with the milder weather. The last month has been wetter than we would ideally like for the health of the tree roots but there’s always a patch most winters where that’s the case and the rain water has been pouring out of the land drains, so the orchards do drain any standing water very quickly. We’ve certainly had a few decent spells of colder weather but we could do with another few weeks of cold to benefit the trees.
Each winter, cherry trees need approximately 1200 hours of chilling on the tree buds (although it varies by each variety) – this essentially means that every hour from November until spring that is 7 degrees or under counts as 1 hour of chill and we are somewhere near half way towards that. The amount of chill units the buds receive affects the cell division within the buds, and therefore the amount of flowers produced at spring. More cell division means more flowers, and more flowers potentially mean more cherries!
Last summer we made more cherry juice than ever thanks to the size of the crop so I have spent quite a bit of time this winter driving around the south east establishing our cherry juice in lots of farm shops and delis so we now have our cherry juice in numerous outlets south of London, with Surrey, Berks, Herts & Essex next on the list, so you’ll be able find our cherry juice easily in future if you want to! The health benefits of the cherry juice are fantastic as it is very anti-inflammatory and appears to be incredibly beneficial for sufferers of Arthritis.
As is now the norm, we will be replacing some of our older trees at our Sandhurst orchard so we will be planting approximately 350 trees this winter, having already pulled the old trees out in the autumn. The trees are due to be delivered at the beginning of March and we’ll get them planted as soon as the ground conditions allow.
Currently, I’m also working my way through a list of maintenance jobs within the orchards and on our machinery, mending all of the things that break during the months when we don’t have time to fix them properly!
I hope that all of this gives you a bit of an insight into what we have been up to and what to expect in the next few months and in the meantime if you have any queries please feel free to email me.
I look forward to seeing you all during the course of the year.