We’re a small family business and have been been growing fruit and vegetables for markets, greengrocers and restaurants on our family farm in Essex since 1948. We grow apples, pears, plums, apricots and figs all selected for the best flavour. Fruit is naturally ripened in the sunshine on the tree, and is handpicked only when it’s perfect for eating.
Our fruit trees flourish thanks to the combination of light and the mild maritime climate of our position on the Essex peninsula with the Stour Estuary to the north, the marshes and backwaters to the south and the North Sea to the east.
We grow Braeburn, Opal®, Topaz and Evelina apples.
A household favourite, Braeburns have a refreshing, crisp taste with a fine balance of sweetness and acidity. A chance discovery in New Zealand in the 1950s, we grow the popular Hillwell type which produces a redder version of the fruit in our particular location. Opal® is a relatively new variety in the UK. A bright yellow apple with a slight blush and russet, we are one of just a handful of UK growers. Opal® apples are a firm favourite with everyone who tries them. The variety is a cross between Topaz and Golden Delicious.
The apples that are too large, small or ugly to be sold is pressed into our Cotchel apple juice. We’ve now taken this one step further by creating an eau de vie (un-aged apple brandy) from our Opal and Braeburn apples and this is used as a botanical in our London Dry Gin.
Lizzie is a very early ripening plum with an amazing flavour . The plums are incredibly sweet and juicy and perfect for fruit gin so that we don’t have to add sugar.
We are the sole growers of the Lizzie plum, discovered from a chance seedling found in Essex in 1990s by Master Fruiterer and Nurseryman Will Sibley. Taken by its incredibly sweet flavor and sunburst colours he named it after his wife Lizzie, her smooth skin and hint of sharpness but sweet on the inside. Some wives have roses named after them, some get plums!
We grow three varieties of apricot, Tomcot, Flavorcot and the extra special Petit Muscat. A good apricot boasts a lovely blush, with a unique sweetness and a hint of sharpness. Eaten fresh off the tree they are unlike anything you might buy in the shops.
We have a small plantation of different varieties of citrus where we are testing what we can grow here in the UK. Varieties we are currently trialling include Yuzu, Kefir, Finger Lime, Meyer, Calamondin and a few others.
Old Tythe maps show our area was rich in orchards and for centuries the Tendring Peninsula was famous for growing pears. These fruit growing traditions had all but died out until we began trial crops of apples and pears in the small fields around our village in 2009.
Today we have 15 acres of orchards and grow apples, pears, plums, apricots and more recently figs and citrus using a mix of modern and traditional plantings.