An apple a day ...

Community News from the Fenland Citizen,, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Community News from the Fenland Citizen,, @FenlandCit on Twitter

An annual event which celebrates the English apple will be held later this month on a farm near Wisbech.

Cambridgeshire County Farms tenant David Wheatley will be holding his annual Apple Day on 21 September between 10am and 4pm. This popular free event is held on his farm in Wisbech St Mary.

David farms 313 acres at Willock Farm in Wisbech St Mary and Parson Drove, and as well as the woodland and arable land on his farm, he also has 22 acres of ancient orchard.

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 Lanes Prince Albert. In total 28 varieties of apples have been identified in the orchards and Willock Farm is home to the East of England Regional Collection, which consists of 250 varieties of apples, pears, plums and cherries.

David said: “We are proud to be custodians of the WIllock Farm orchard and delighted to share it each year at the Apple Day. The event is a great chance to come and learn about the diversity of orchards and their benefits for wildlife, to buy apples and speak to the farmers who grow them.

“The East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) will also be there to help you identify your own fruits and offer advice on orchards. There will also be stalls, homemade cakes made with fruits from the orchard, apple juice and honey made by Willock Farm bees.”

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.”

David has had a busy year so far with other visitors on the farm. A film unit from Japanese television have been making a programme about life in the traditional orchards over the last 10 months. They plan to capture an entire season of an English apple orchard, looking at wildlife, as well as David and his family at work and play.

All are welcome to the Apple Day, on 21 September from 10am – 4pm at Willock Farm, Wisbech St Mary. For further information contact David Wheatley on 07714 098943.