Hopefully, you’ll have been enjoying locally-grown Godshill cherries this time of year – we certainly have. And it was a tweet we posted from the Southsea Food Festival that led us to an invitation to have a look around the orchard’s other enterprise – apricots.
The apricot orchard is tucked away on the south side of Brading Down. These sunny slopes have been previously home to a vineyard, so have a good pedigree when it comes to cultivating sun-loving produce.
We visited the apricot orchard at its peak of production. The hundreds of trees were groaning with fruit, some of which had become windfall. Other fruit are discarded because of discolouration, but plenty is picked – all by hand.
The apricots are gathered in field punnets and then taken to a barn on site, ready for sorting.
Apricots are graded by size in a simple conveyor system. The supermarkets prefer the apricots to be firm, so that they have a slightly longer shelf life.
Not all of the apricots are sent to the mainland for the supermarkets, you can also buy these juicy sweet fruit from local suppliers including Farmhouse Fayre in Newport and Farmer Jack’s Farm Shop, Arreton. We can vouch for their tastiness! Thanks Simeon, for showing us around.