Producing the Goods
Cornwall is not widely known for its orchards, but every farm would have had an orchard of cider apple eating and cooking apple, cherry, plum and pear trees at one time. A number of Cornish varieties of apple do well in the mild, moist climate of the south west.
Andy Atkinson took over the tenancy of Westnorth Manor Farm, part of the Duchy of Cornwall Estate, in 1992. In the process of restoring the woodlands, hedgerows and pastures on the farm, he replanted the 15 acre orchard that had been grubbed up, with traditional Cornish varieties such as Manaccan Primrose, Chacewater Longstem, Scilly Pearl and Trenance Cooker. What was a part of farm diversification was to become the farm’s sole enterprise as the orchard began to bear fruit in 1999.
Atkinson is an artisan juice and cider-maker who loves the challenge that different varieties of apples bring – he now has to source his apples from other west country orchards as his business expands. With the help of a young wine-maker from Normandy he experiments with different blends, "each juice having what he calls a complicated style with plenty of depth and flavour"* so new tastes are produced each year, along with some core favourites. He is inventing new products all the time - different blends of apple juice, farmhouse and bottle- fermented sparkling cider as well as Cornish cider mustard, apple cider vinegar, cider & apple and plum & spiced cider chutneys. Elderflower pressé is now entering the frame picked from the local hedgerows.
St Cuby’s bottle fermented cider, Veryan Cornish Cider, Cornish Black and Gold.
Apple Juices include:
Bromwell’s Medley; Cox, Bramley & Old Cornish; Cox and Colloggett Pippin.
For a fuller review, see *‘Gourmet Cornwall’ by Carol Trewin (photographs Adam Woolfitt), published by Alison Hodge, 2005.
Contact: Andy Atkinson
Cornish Orchards, Westnorth Manor Farm, Duloe, Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 4PW
+44(0)1503 269007, e-mail: apples [at] cornishorchards.co.uk