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Food and Farming Awards 2012


Finding our seats - the tension mounts!

The 28th of November 2012, will be quite a memorable day for Once Upon A Tree.

The anticpation since learning we were finalists was unbearbale.  However I had managed to convince myself that we wouldn't win.  The oppostion was very strong after all...

Arriving in the theatre we looked for signs or signals of if we'd won or not.  "We don't have "Gold" tickets" I said to Hannah, when we were looking at the signs at the entrance of the theatre, "They must be the ones for the winners.  We haven't won, lets just relax and enjoy ourselves!"  But we were guided in to the front of the theatre with all of the other finalists...

We met Pete Brown who had judged us, but he had his poker face on!

Our reserved seats were at the wrong end of the stage "They wouldn't have us walking right in front of the audience to get on stage - we haven't won." I whispered to Hannah.

The show started - Gwyneth Williams, Director of Programmes for Radio 4, introduced the awards and the main presenters Sheila Dillon and Valentine Warner took up their stations.  Several categories came and went - all with incredible, inspirational stories. "Surely, we're not of that calibre?" I thought.

Pete Brown introduced the Drinks Producer finalists.  I was sure he was tallking about the Kernel Brewery.  Then he said "...and the winner is, Once Upon A Tree" and the cheers (and screams!) from the audience were incredible! (I didn't realise that half of Herefordshire had arrived!)


We had WON!The BBC Food & Farming Stage....

BBC Food & Farming Awards 2012.  Best Drinks Producer.

We all walked on to the stage and eagerly shook Pete's hand.  The big screen was showing images of our orchard and ourselves, whilst snippets of the recording that were made when the judges visited were being played.  It was somewhat surreal!

Shelia Dillon & Valentine warner were up on stage grinning at us, saying "Well done" and Sheila asked me a question or two, and I answered, but I honestly cannot remember what I said - I wish I'd prepared something! But it's OK, I can talk the cider talk until the cows come home!

We returned to our seats and I realised that I was shaking.  I looked across the others and just saw grinning faces, and I realised I too must have looked like the Cheshire cat too! but I was thinking "I'm just some bloke making cider in Herefordshire - How did I get here?!"

It's taking a while to sink in...!  This is big. Actually, this is BIG!  REALLY BIG!

The phone hasn't stopped ringing, emails and tweets have flooded in.  James is labelling furiously in the Cider Shed just to keep up with number of mail orders going out...

5 Years is a very short time in business.  We have just pressed our 6th harvest.  Thats only six attempts at getting it right, and the latest lot is only just fermenting - Looks like we're doing things well enough though! 

Listen to the Awards Ceremony or read more about the awards and the other category award winners on the BBC Food & Farming web page

BIG thanks to everyone who has supported us so far - you can all take a share in this award!    
Once Upon A Tree - Damn Fine!







Apple pealing and tasting!The rain didn't dampen spirits at our Autumn Children's Orchard Day on Thursday 27th October 2011.  Flags were flying, the men were crushing the apples and children turned up prepared to explore all that Dragon Orchard had to offer!!

A simple apple corer, peeler and slicer provided endless fun for the children and a lot of apples were eaten!  Alice, apple printing with the childrenPerhaps we have solved the problem of getting children to eat more fruit!

Alice Arnold our 'resident' local artist offered children opportunities to make brilliant painted cards with the use of potato and apple printing.  The children's imagination and creative skills were abundant.

Pumpkin lantern carving was a great hit with some very gruesome faces, but it was very messy and great fun.

And when we thought we couldn't get much wetter, the attraction to go apple bobbing was to strong a pull!  However all adults were grateful for a wonderful cup of coffee and delicious home-made cakes.

Thank you to all who came and enjoyed the day.  Whilst we are planning for our next year event calendar I think we may avoid Thursdays in the hope we will have a dry day!

Apple Bobbing Apple printingPumpkin carving

Cropsharers gathered for the toast!

In 2001 Dragon Orchard Cropsharers was launched in a post foot and mouth diseased Herefordshire countryside. Last weekend some ten years later, over 120 people gathered in the orchard to celebrate a decade of Cropsharing and to enjoy the links between people, place and produce. Orchard activities included bee-keeping, budding and music-making with poetry walks and cider production also included.

Pouring Carpenters CroftOnce Upon A Tree’s fabulous new Tumpy Ground Draught Cider provided excellent lubrication and Carpenters Croft celebratory sparkling cider was the perfect drink for the toast to the next ten years.

Writing poetry in the orchardA delightful day at Dragon Orchard at a poetry workshop held in conjunction with The Ledbury Poetry Festival and part of Herefordshire Year in the Orchard.

The day was run by local sculptor, artist and poet David Walker with the orchard input from Chris Fairs of Bulmers and Norman Stanier.

David Walker displays his Haiga

Some of the contributions:

Machines for pruning
do mothers work
I miss her

An apple a day
twenty tons per acre
eat drink and be merry

Not looking for perfection
tells it all

Flat hidden buds
you grow from
sustainable joy

Warm the rain
share the colour
of my umbrella

David PealingYear in the orchard celebrations continued in May at Dragon Orchard with a drop-in workshop on ‘a beginners guide to beekeeping’. David Pealing (Mr P) from Putley has been keeping bees for about seven years now, and is supplying Once Upon a Tree shop with his honey. Annie and Norman Stanier have wanted beehives in their orchard so this was a great opportunity to team up with Mr P.

MeEric helps build the hiver P had an old hive that required refurbishment. He set up outside to work on it with his willing helper Eric (10). They set too making new frames with foundation wax, wood, hammer and nails and managed quite a production line. Interested parties were welcomed to join in the action. Questions and Answers carried on a pace and eventually an inquisitive crowd gathered to learn more about the life and times of the honey bee, its hive and its role in the orchard.

Due to the very warm Easter we had experienced, the honey bees had already been very productive in some of Mr P’s hives in the village. For added interested the audience were herded into the garage and the electric doors lowered in preparation for a honey extraction display (The door was closed to reduce any bees flying past, being attracted to the honey.) Four frames heavy with comb and honey were lowered into an extraction barrel. The lid replaced and then a lot of manual effort About to extract the honey!was required to central frugally extract the honey. Efforts were rewarded with the sampling of very sweet, clear, magnificent honey.

DHive siting instructionsuring this day a competition was run to find the most appropriate site for the new hive. Visitors were offered the chance to set out into the orchard armed with a numbered stake, mallet and the few tips given by Mr P on the best place for a hive and find their ideal position. They were encouraged by the thought that the winning stake placed closest to the final resting place of the hive would win the first jar of honey from Dragon Orchards hive.

Our bee hiveThe day was informative but fun. Many of us left with more knowledge of the bee and beekeeping than we came with. Many thanks to Mr P for all his hard work.

Kay Harris

UPDATE: May 5th 2011 - The Hive has been sited in the orchard between the Big Hug and Tin Shed along the hedgerow. The winning stake was No.4 belonging to Tim Kemp. Congratulations! He will be receiving the first jar of honey extracted but first we need some bees!

Swarm of bees introduced to the hiveUPDATE: May 17th 2011 - Breaking news: We have a swarm of bees living in Dragon Orchard’s hive. They needed a little help in finding it but they have settled in and are being productive – you could say it is a hive of activity! Hopefully honey will be soon!

onceuponatree RT @VigoLtd: And the Best in Show @3countiesshows @TCCPAofficial goes to @onceuponatree for their Sweet Cider - congrats!🤩
onceuponatree RT @onceuponatree: @Bushwhckr @Shacksbury OK, so Once Upon A Tree is now on sale in Portland, Oregon, USA! Big thanks to @Shacksbury & @Bus
onceuponatree @Bushwhckr @Shacksbury OK, so Once Upon A Tree is now on sale in Portland, Oregon, USA! Big thanks to @Shacksbury &…
onceuponatree RT @Bushwhckr: New to the shop: @onceuponatree & @Shacksbury bottles & cans!
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