Cheers - as Clyde Valley apple juice is launched

Juiced...pulped apples are pressed to produce pure fruit juice at Clyde Valley Fruit Day (Pic Sarah Peters)
Juiced...pulped apples are pressed to produce pure fruit juice at Clyde Valley Fruit Day (Pic Sarah Peters)

APPLE Juice from the Clyde Valley is being produced for sale, harking back to a long tradition of fruit growing and market gardening in the area, once renowned as the Fruit Basket of Scotland.

The juice - grown, bottled and processed locally by the newly formed Clyde Valley Co-operative Ltd. (CVOC) – was aptly launched on Saturday at the sixth annual Clyde Valley Fruit Day at Overton Farm, Carluke, alongside food demos and tasters from other local

producers and the Lanarkshire Farmers’ Market.

Visitors and locals flocked to see the apple to bottle process which was demonstrated by pressings throughout Fruit Day by CVOC with tasters available.

“A number of different apple varieties have been used to produce the harvest this year, the three most common being Bramley, Monarch and Granadier,” explains Duncan Arthur, of CVOC.

“The juice is golden in colour, naturally sweetened and freshly pressed. It’s a pleasure to launch the juice during Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink when eyes from around the world are on what amazing produce is available on our doorsteps.”

CVOC are aiming to harvest three tonnes of apples to produce 1500 litres of juice which will have come from 12 different local orchards including one recently replanted community orchard at nearby Kirkfieldbank.

Local orchard owners are also encouraged to make any excess apple crops available for pressing.

All money raised through sales will be put back in to Clyde Valley community initiatives.

Currently, two bottles of Clyde Valley apple juice may taste different – some sweeter, some slightly bitter – depending on which varieties of apples have been used. However, as CVOC expands and grows, they hope to focus down on single variety juice.

The juice will be available to buy initially from five local outlets; Carraghers Deli (Lanark), Reas Stores (Lanark), Overton Farm Shop (near Carluke), The Orchard in Biggar, and Silverbirch Garden Centre (Crossford), but it’s hoped that it will be made more widely available as CVOC’s capacity continues to grow.

The launch of the apple juice comes as part of a wider initiative to revive the Clyde Valley orchards which have been a striking feature of the landscape for hundreds of years.

Through funding from the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) and Rural Development Trust, the commercial sale of apple juice comes off the back of a range of other initiatives which focus on the sustainability of the orchards.

“Since 2012, over 600 new apple, plum and pear trees have been planted, 14 orchards have been brought into 10 year management regimes, 207 individuals have received training in various orchard management techniques from pruning to cider-making, and 21 local schools have planted and been given skills to maintain mini orchards within their grounds,” explains Chris Parkin, manager of Rural Development Trust.

“During the 19th century, the Clyde Valley was Scotland’s leading commercial fruit producing area,” explains Donna Marshall, CAVLP Manager. “CAVLP are promoting the revival of the orchards which are both a beautiful feature and an important resource at a time when

consumers are appreciating local produce once again.”

The future is certainly bright for the orchards in the Clyde Valley.

For more information on Clyde Valley Orchards, visit www.clydevalleyorchards.co.uk.