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Friends of Cherry Orchard Park

The Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park is a 200 acre wildlife park in the Roach Valley, south-east Essex. Originally farmland, the park is now a beautiful public open space where, ‘everyone can enjoy what the countryside has to offer’. With public rights of way for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to enjoy, the park includes woodlands, lake, open grasslands and now an orchard.

The Friends of Cherry Orchard Park [http://www.friendsofcherryorchardpark.org/] play a vital role protecting, conserving and enhancing the park, and work in consultation with Rochford District Council on the future development of the park.

In December 2011 the Friends successfully planted a community orchard of 144 apple and pear trees, that includes the oldest Essex culinary apple variety, ‘Dr Harvey’, which dates back to 1629! A grove of cherry trees has since been planted alongside. Their first official Apple Day was held in 2012 when the Friends ceremonially planted a Guardian Tree in the centre of the orchard.

After purchasing some of juicing equipment, the Secretary of the Friends of Cherry Orchard Park sent in this lovely email:

"Many thanks for your advice and prompt delivery of our apple press and related equipment. It arrived in plenty of time for us to have a practice run before our Apple Day celebrations at Cherry Orchard Park, Rochford, Essex.

It was a great success. Plenty of apples were donated and Friends of Cherry Orchard Park, young and older, helped with the juicing. The results were declared excellent, the most used description being ‘clean’. We offered ‘a sip for free, a gulp for 10p’ as we were still experimenting ourselves. We raised a welcome sum for our funds.

It was great fun and I have just placed an order for more bottles, rinsing and draining equipment and a fine mesh straining bag. We found the pears produce delicious juice but sort of ‘foamed’ through the mesh bag we had. A little too much enthusiasm was used I think!

Anyway – the event made the local press and photos featured the apple press too. We were pleased to make the leaflets you provided available and told them all about Vigo – many having seen the BBC Gardeners' World programme that featured the same press."

In 2014 the Friends plan to sell their apple juice and they are looking forward to a cider making venture too. To become a member of the Friends group, click here: http://www.friendsofcherryorchardpark.org/membership.html

Starting up your own group

For handy tips on setting up your own 'fruit group' or Apple Day, including the juicing equipment you might need, see our Community Juicing pages.

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