Stoke Farm Orchards
Enjoy the taste of seasonal, Suffolk-grown apples all year round
Among our ever-growing family of local suppliers, we have a selection of producers who create products especially for our Sourced Locally range. This includes Stoke Farm Orchards in Stowmarket, who blend delicious apple juices on their Suffolk farm to deliver direct to us.
The small Suffolk orchard has become internationally renowned for its own award-winning Appletree Hill brand of freshly-pressed apple, pear and quince juices.
The farm’s Appletree Hill juices are sold in some of the very best hotels and stately homes across the country, so we are delighted to have been able to work with husband and wife owners David and Rebecca Upson to also make bottles of their freshly pressed apple juice available to the local community as part of their regular supermarket shop.
The apple juice is made entirely from fruit grown at the orchard, which has become renowned for producing quintessentially English, and notoriously juicy, varieties such as the red-skinned Discovery and the Cox, known for its honeyed aroma.
"Working closely with the East of England Co-op, has meant that there is a strong, collaborative relationship between us. They understand that we grow the apples and pears which we then process into Stoke Farm Orchards juices. So from blossom to bottle!
This relationship has strengthened our business and has directly assisted in maintaining one of the few orchards left in East Anglia for the betterment of the environment."
Pressed for success
The orchard’s success is down to the sheer hard work and dedication put in by David and Rebecca. They are kept busy every day, as they take control of the entire process, from pruning the trees through to the production of the juices, or, as the couple phrase it, from ‘blossom to bottle’.
Having tended to the trees to nurture the growing fruit, David goes on to do all the pressing to create the juices, often late into the night and early hours of the morning. Using traditional methods, the apples are crushed and pulped, and then pressed until all the juice has been extracted. Vitamin C is added to stop oxidation and then the juice is slowly pasteurised to preserve the real flavour of the fruit. Each and every blend creates a bottle packed with the taste of seasonal apples which can then be enjoyed all year round.
Once the juice has been made, it’s over to Rebecca, who in between running the office takes control of all the bottling. Everything is then packed on site, ready for distribution, with help from the farm’s small (but perfectly formed!) team.
Despite now being experienced apple growers and juice makers, David and Rebecca didn’t originally set out to take this route. They originally started out as pig farmers in 1984, and even when they started to grow fruit, the idea to turn it into juice wasn’t sparked until 1993 as part of a BBC Radio Suffolk visit. Presenter John Ely was following the couple’s life on the farm, and having tasted the apples in the orchard, he jokingly said that it was a shame they didn’t turn it into juice, and a new business was born!
We’re certainly glad that this throwaway comment sparked a new idea for the couple, or we wouldn’t be able to stock 750ml bottles of this freshly blended apple juice in selected stores across Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Pop to your local East of England Co-op to find great Sourced Locally products! *