‘A-peeling’ open day

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CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Farms Estate tenant David Wheatley will be at the core of celebrations to mark the traditional English apple.

David farms 313 acres at Willock Farm in Wisbech St Mary and at Parson Drove, and he has identified 28 varieties of organic apples growing in the 22 acres of ancient orchard on his holding.

Wisbech St Mary will be holding its annual Apple Day on Saturday, September 17 between 10am and 4pm, everyone is invited and entry is free. Visitors can come and experience the Willock Farm Orchards, buy apples and speak to the farmers that grow them. The East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) will help to identify your own fruits and offer help and advice on orchards. Other highlights of the day are stalls with home made cakes made with fruit from the orchards, apple juice and Blossom Honey made by Willock Farm Bees.

Willock Farm is also home to the East of England Regional Collection which consists of 250 varieties of apples, pears, plums and cherries.

The orchard was planted in the early 1900s to provide fruit throughout the season and now contains around 2,700 trees – including Emneth Early, Laxtons Fortune, Laxton Superb, Anne Elizabeth and Lane Prince Albutt.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s County Farms Estate is the largest of its kind in the country with some 250 tenants working more than 13,500 hectares of land.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Steve Count, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, said: “The County Council Farms Estate plays a vital role in providing employment opportunities in rural areas as well as helping manage and protect our unique landscape and countryside. I am delighted that one of our tenants is taking a leading role in this celebration of traditional native apple varieties, many of which are in danger of dying out as they are no longer commercial crops.”