The first and most crucial stage when crafting cider
Our Three Orchards
How each orchard fits into our cider production process at Butford Organics
- mixed fruit orchard
We planted this orchard when we moved to the Farm in 1999 and supplemented it with a few perry pear trees in 2004. It now consists of a wide range of about 250 trees. The main cider varieties are Browns, Dabinett and Kingston Black and we also have dessert apples with over 30 varieties, pears, plums and walnuts.
- Perry pear orchard
This was started in 2007 and was completed over the next 3 years. At present it has about 250 trees with over 20 varieties of pears sourced from local nurseries and from bud wood we have taken from old trees on the Farm and nearby.
- cider apple orchardOur 70-year-old orchard, originally comprising around 100 trees including varieties like Bulmers Norman, Brown Snout, and Yarlington Mill, is being restored. Intriguingly, two of the original trees remain unidentified, adding a touch of mystery.. We've added 40 new trees, including Court Royal and Foxwhelp, with plans for 20 more, preserving and enhancing its rich legacy.
Building a sustainable business for the future
Butford Farm is our home in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside. As such, caring for the environment has been one of our core goals. We want to create an all-natural process as well as a self-sustaining farm for all our endeavors.
The orchards grow with minimum intervention from ourselves. In the past sheep have grazed the Mature Cider Orchard in the summer. We mow the grass 2 or 3 times in the spring/summer but like to keep the grass reasonably long away from the tree trunks to encourage beneficial insects. We prune mainly for access and to maintain shape, remove crossing branches and to let light into the trees. This takes place as weather permits over the winter months. We have retained a few of the older trees which have died for insect habitat and biodiversity.
Our perry pear orchard is home to some special helpers – a small apiary. These busy friends are vital to our orchard, helping our pear trees grow healthy fruit. As they buzz around, they pollinate the flowers, making sure we get the best pears for our drinks. We care a lot about nature, and our bees show this. They help us keep things natural and show how we use nature’s own ways to grow our pears. Every bottle of our perry has a bit of the hard work these bees do, making it all taste even better. And with the help and advice of the beekeeper, Jonathon, we’ve made sure our orchards are bee friendly. Notably, one of the old pear trees on the farm has been a residence for wild bees living in its trunk for the past 24 years. These bees, swarming once or twice a year, are a resilient strain, integral to the orchard’s ecosystem and our longstanding commitment to natural processes.
Embracing renewable energy, our operations are supported by solar panels. This eco-friendly choice reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, lowering our carbon footprint.
When the Herefordshire chill sets in, we stay warm with a touch of tradition – our log boiler. Responsibly sourced seasoned wood, from our farm, fuels the biomass boiler. We have planted a 3-acre mixed woodland (not to mention 8-acres of orchard) to maintain and crucially increase the tree cover here.