Stoke Farm Orchards

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Producer of the Year 2016: Stoke Farm Orchards

Enjoy the taste of Suffolk grown seasonal apples, all year round

Among our many local suppliers we have a selection of producers who create products especially for our Sourced Locally own-brand range. This includes Stoke Farm Orchards in Stowmarket, which blends delicious apple juices at the farm and then delivers them direct to us to sell under the Sourced Locally label.

This 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 growing quintessentially English, and notoriously juicy, varieties such as the red skinned Discovery and the Cox, known for its honeyed aroma.

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 in the 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 team of employees. 

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.