The Heritage of the Kentish Orchards
It is a beautiful time of year in Kent with the orchards coming to life. The Kent Downs and Weald of Kent are ideal locations for growing fruit with the warm climate and well-drained soil. The Kent countryside is synonymous with these orchards and their presence on the landscape has led to Kent becoming known as ‘The Garden of England’.
The English apple season begins in August and lasts through to February. We will be keeping the shop well stocked with Kent fruit over these coming months. We currently have Cox, Gala, Bramley and Egremont Russett. We have Conference pears from Linton and also Kent Cobnuts from Faversham.
All this produce is grown in the Weald of Kent or on the Kent Downs. In general it has been a good summer for growth with late sunshine giving plenty of flavour and colour to the fruit.
Over the past few years traditional Kentish orchards have been slowly disappearing as growers experience heavy financial losses with the cost of growing greater than the profits made from selling the fruit. This has led to farmers removing many acres of orchards. The loss of these orchards not only has a negative impact on UK food security but also leads to wildlife losses.
In Kent we have two key institutions that endeavour to promote UK and particularly Kent fruit.
National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, Faversham. This collection stores seeds for all varieties of apples of the future and has over 4000 varieties of fruit trees.
East Malling Research Station Run by the NIAB, this world class centre for both top and soft fruit explores modern techniques of growing perennial and clonally propagated crops. This is becoming increasingly relevant for food production in our rapidly changing environment.