Whitethorn Farm at Carey in Herefordshire has about 16 acres of organic orchards, including cider apples, dessert and culinary apples, plums, pears and cherries. Almost 70 varieties in all, chosen by Martin and Rachel Soble for their flavour and suitability for organic systems. Most of these are older varieties, planted by the Sobles from 2005 in a semi-traditional orchard style with plenty of space for the trees to develop and hopefully last for many decades.
The apples varieties include fruit ready to eat in Autumn and store through to April, with the gradeouts juiced on the farm to make a range of single variety and blended apples juices, while the cider apples are made into their own award-winning still and sparkling cider.
In October 2011, Whitethorn Farm won the first Royal Horticultural Society ‘Best Orchard’ in Herefordshire Award. The Sobles and their farm received praise for levels of knowledge, sound management practices, biodiversity, and the value of the orchard in the wider community. Judges said, “It is very rare to see such determination, enthusiasm and such a successful young enterprise come to fruition so quickly. The knowledge gained in such a short time and applied so effectively is impressive”.