New Falkland orchard project set to bear fruit

The new orchard on Falkland estate.

The new orchard on Falkland estate.

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Visitors to Falkland Estate are accustomed to walking through a beautiful landscape.

Now they will also be able to see a brand new orchard which has just been planted – the first major orchard to be planted on the site for over a century.

The two acre orchard is made up of four different types of dessert apples and represents a significant financial investment by Falkland Farms aimed at making locally grown fruit available to residents in nearby villages and towns.

Discovery, James Grieve, Red Windsor and Rojka varieties are the types of apples chosen to make up the brand new plantation.

DIFFERENT

They have been chosen because they all ripen at a range of different times during the season and so there will be apples available from late August through to the middle of October.

The site chosen for the orchard is close to the cricket club and was previously unused grassland.

This area has been handpicked because of its low risk of late frost, giving the trees the best chance of healthy growth and apple crops.

The orchard has been planted by a task force comprising estate workers, volunteers and members of a Community Jobs Scotland team who have been training as forestry assistants with Falkland Estate and Centre for Stewardship for the past six months.

Championing the new orchard is Professor David Atkinson who is a director of Falkland Farms.

EXCITING

He said: “It has been a century since there has been apple planting at Falkland and so this new orchard is a very exciting project for Falkland Farms.

“Historically the UK produced a lot of its own apples but imports from Europe saw a real decline in UK based apple growing.

“The feeling now is very much that the tide has turned and there is a real demand for locally sourced food and fruit.

“ Falkland Farms is always looking for innovative ways to provide the community with locally produced food and the orchard is another investment in the future that encourages sustainable living practices.

“The orchard will be run on organic principals - the trees we have planted are organic so we will be producing fruit that is of the highest standard suitable for eating, cooking, baking and juicing.

“This is all part of a wider drive that we are keen to promote which links Falkland Farms into the local community by providing products that offer the opportunity for people to source great locally grown food.

“In essence this orchard offers another ‘branch’ out into the community that bonds Falkland Farms to local people and is an investment for the future generations of Falkland and Fife.”

It is anticipated that individuals and local community groups will be encouraged to become involved in the project and to help the orchard develop.

The orchard is expected to come into full crop in 2015-16.