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Drink Producer of the Year - Flavours of HerefordshireOnce Upon A Tree are delighted to be presented with the top award for Best Drinks Producer at this year’s Flavours of Herefordshire Awards by celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

The awards were presented in front of Herefordshire’s leading players in the food, drink and tourism industries at the Flavours of Herefordshire gala dinner held on Friday 21st October.

The Flavours of Herefordshire Awards Scheme recognises the best use and promotion of local produce, and is judged on the company’s overall performance and ethos as well as the quality of it’s products.

Currently pressing their 5th harvest, this award gives recognition to Once Upon A Tree’s commitment to producing quality produce that celebrates the heritage & culture of Herefordshire orchards and cider-making, whilst creating a sustainable future for its own 22 acres of orchard in Putley.

What an honour! We’re all absolutely over the moon with this award!" said Cider Maker Simon Day “We are incredibly proud of our Herefordshire roots, the landscape and people that make our county so special, and we try our very best to capture the essence of Herefordshire in every bottle, and every pint that we produce!”

“Jean-Christophe was very complimentary and we chatted for some time about how we make our cider and what Herefordshire means to us. He was so impressed, he asked to use our cider in his demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre at the Flavours Festival and he actively promoted them to the audience!”

This year has seen the company gain major awards at the International Cider Competition, Bath & West show, Three Counties Show, and only last week saw their own Dragon Orchard gain an RHS Silver-Gilt award in the inaugural RHS Pomona awards.

It has particular significance to us to win this award during the Herefordshire Year in the Orchard." adds Simon "We have been running Year in the Orchard events every month throughout the year, which have been so successful, we are now considering more for 2012 too!"

In 2011 the RHS in conjunction with Herefordshire Year in the Orchard held a competition to determine the best orchards in the county. Entries were received from a large number and wide variety of orchards and these were whittled down to a shortlist of 14. These were visited by a panel of experts including representatives from tree nurseries and wildlife groups, as well as orchards and the environment. The finalists were then judged by RHS apple expert Jim Arbury and the results announced at Hergest Croft, the home of the first ever female president of the RHS, Elizabeth Banks on Sunday October 16th.

When presenting Norman and Ann Stanier of Dragon Orchard with their Silver Gilt medal, Mrs Banks remarked that the orchard was an outstanding example of a family business run with great enthusiasm.

We’re delighted to receive this recognition from the RHS”, explained orchard owner Ann Stanier, “we take huge pride in running Dragon Orchard in a sustainable manner, maintaining strong community links through our Cropsharers Scheme and with great care for the environment and wildlife within the orchard and its boundaries.”

The orchard grows top quality cider and dessert fruit, welcomes visitors to the orchard and run its own Community Supported Agriculture Scheme and Shop. With its sister company Once Upon A Tree they have developed a fantastic range of apple juice, cider and perry and other produce using the fruit from the orchard.

Dragon Orchard is a great example of a Herefordshire Rural Business that links People, Place and Produce in a creative and innovative way.

Ann & Norman Receive their RHS Silver Gilt Award

Ann & Norman Receive their RHS Silver-Gilt Award from Elizabeth Banks, President of the RHS

RHS Silver-Gilt award certificate

The RHS Silver-Gilt award certificate.

For the past couple of months, visitors to our Orchard Shop have been able to view the photos entered into our photo competition by the attendees of our Herefordshire Year in the Orchard Photo Day, and vote for their favourites. Voting closed after our Open Farm Sunday event on 12th June, and the votes have now been counted and the results can be announced!

We had several hundred visitors cast votes, and every photo entered had some votes. However the three prize winning photos are:

First Place:

Eric Neal for his monochrome / colour photo of apples in a bushel box:

First Place - Eric Neal

Second Place:

Beverly Walker for this image of chairs in the blossom filled orchard:

Second Place - Beverly Walker

Third Place:

Also to Eric Neal for his monochrome image, taken at the back of one of the orchard barns:

Third Place  - Eric Neal

Congratulations to Eric and Beverly, very well deserved!

Eric wins the £80 mixed case of cider (1st prize) and a £10 voucher (3rd prize) to use in our shop, and Beverly wins a £25 voucher (2nd prize) to spend in our shop.

The winning photos will be displayed in our shop for the remainder of the Year in the Orchard.

Once Upon A Tree were awarded the “Vigo Trophy” for Best Apple Juice at the Bath & West Show last week.

The awards ceremony took place last Thursday 2nd June, attended by Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex in front of the general public, press and members of the cider and apple juice industry.

Simon Day, who makes the award winning juice at Dragon Orchard in Putley, Ledbury, was present to receive the trophy presented by Lord Julian Fellowes who was also one of the judges.

The competition is considered the biggest in the country, and over 400 entries were judged. The Once Upon A Tree Discovery Juice was judged the “Best Single Variety Juice”, and then went on to win “Best in Show.”

The award winning juice was made from Discovery apples picked at the peak of ripeness in September last year, and displays a beautiful hint of pink from the glossy red skins of the apples. The juice is described as a having a delicious hint of strawberry, medium sweet with a refreshing finish.

The Discovery is one of nine different juices we make here at Dragon Orchard," explains Simon Day “and this trophy proves the exceptional quality of apples we have here in the orchards of Herefordshire. It’s my job to look after the flavours as the juice is pressed and bottled, but there is no further intervention – it’s a very natural flavour, and a very natural product!”

The juice is available to taste and buy directly from the Once Upon A Tree Shop at Dragon Orchard, or via mail order through, or through a number of stockists (details available on the web site).

This award follows previous success for their ciders only last month at the International Cider Competition, and national exposure with an on air tasting on BBC Radio 2 with Nigel Barden on the Simon Mayo Drivetime show last week.

Once Upon A Tree have gained two top awards at the International Cider and Perry Competition held last week at the Hereford Cider Museum.

First place for the Best Medium Cider was awarded to cider maker, Simon Day, for their 2009 “Kingston Redstreak” cider and another first place for the Best Single Variety Cider was awarded for their 2010 “Dabinett” cider.

I am very proud of both the Kingston Redstreak, and our new Dabinett ciders, and I’m particularly delighted to have received this recognition at this highly competitive and high profile competition" explains Cider Maker Simon Day “There are no great secrets to winning, we just happen to have one of the very best orchards providing us with the best quality fruit, it’s my job to preserve the quality in its transition to delicious cider!”
The 2009 Kingston Redstreak was launched last year and quickly became the company’s most popular cider. The 2010 Dabinett is yet to be released, and cider fans will have to wait a few weeks to get their hands on a finished bottle!

The 2010 ciders are a little delayed due to the incredibly cold winter and subsequent slow fermentations." adds Simon "However, this long maturation period has benefited the final quality of the cider in bottle!"

The ciders are available to taste and buy directly from the Once Upon A Tree Shop at Dragon Orchard, or via mail order, or through a number of stockists (details available on the web site).

These awards follow previous success which saw the company awarded the coveted “Champion’s Cup” at the 2009 International Competition, and Highly Commended in the 2010 Flavours of Herefordshire Drinks Producer of the Year Award,

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