Community orchard shares wisdom and wassail

December 22 2014

HOPING to inspire more fruit-growing in our local neighbourhood is Horfield Organic Community Orchard.

HOPING to inspire more fruit-growing in our local neighbourhood is Horfield Organic Community Orchard.
Over the next few years, members will be developing a home orchard plot project, to pass on skills of growing, harvesting, storing and cooking fruit.
The project is designed to demonstrate how a 4 by 10 metre plot can be fully planted to grow a variety of fruits.
Part-funded by a well being grant from the Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Neighbourhood Partnership, the rest of the balance has been raised through sales of refreshments at public events.
According to orchard co-ordinator, Shannon Smith, less than 20 percent of the fruit eaten in this country is grown in the UK.
She says that this dependence on imports could easily be reversed by returning to growing fruit in our own gardens, creating community orchards in public spaces, and reviving market gardens - small-scale productions, where fruit is sold directly to consumers and restaurants.
Shannon said: "We’re really excited by this hands-on project. People new to fruit growing will have a brilliant opportunity to learn from scratch, while working alongside orchard members wise with many seasons of fruit growing experience.
"There’s something for veteran growers too. We’re trying out new and unusual ways of growing - such as very close planting of trees."
Membership of the orchard, which is located off Kings Drive, is open to anyone, and new members are welcome to join from January 2015.
Members enjoy a dividend of the harvest, learn specialist fruit-growing skills, and get to work and socialise in a green oasis in a densely populated part of Bristol.
HOCO is also financially supported by members who join the orchard as Friends.
The orchard will be hosting a Wassail on January 17, 2-4pm, to celebrate local fruit and toast for a fruitful harvest.
Home-made cakes and mulled Orchard juice will be sale, and there will also be an opportunity to purchase apple trees.
Pigsty Morris dancers will be entertaining visitors, and people are encouraged to bring ribbons, clouties and shining objects to dress the trees.
All are welcome to join.
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