The Blenheim Orange, an Oxfordshire variety, has been described as one of our finest and most valuable apples.
The first Blenheim Orange tree was grown from a pip in about 1740 at Woodstock by George Kempster, a tailor, in his garden in Manor Road, Old Woodstock just outside the grounds of Blenheim Park. The tree was a local landmark, people came by the coach loads to marvel at the tree and to take scions from it. It was known as Kempster’s Pippin until 1811. It has a distinctive nutty flavour and is crisp and juicy. Two Blenheim Orange trees were planted in 1992 in the grounds of the Museum in Woodstock. It is grown widely in gardens in the UK, but it has been said that its flavour is at its best within a few miles of Woodstock.
Oxford orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- Midshires Orchard Group – The Mid Shires Orchard Group aims to conserve and promote enjoyment and use of the local orchards and rich apple traditions of the four ‘mid-shires’ counties of Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
- Who we are: We are a friendly community group, run by volunteers and administered by an elected committee. New members are welcomed! We value the enthusiasm, ideas and contributions that each one brings to the group and we enjoy learning from each other. In return, we offer support for a range of heritage fruit endeavours and aim to cover all topics of interest to our members. We also have a programme of social and educational events, held throughout the year.Our four main themes of seasonal celebration are: Winter Wassail, Springtime Scionwood Swap, Summer Field Trip and Autumn Apple Days. These popular events act as social focal points for our members and also serve to increase public awareness of top fruit heritage, promote related skills and give wider access to local and unusual varieties. In addition, they allow us to reach out to communities across our four counties, helping them develop, conserve, enjoy and make use of their heritage fruit trees, orchards and harvests.Email: MSOGChairman@yahoo.com
Where to buy trees in Oxford
- Heritage Fruit Tree Company – local varieties for Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
- Waterperry Gardens has a large range of varieties of apples, pears, plums, cherries and peaches, fruit and trees. Single variety apple juice also sold.
- Bernwode Plants -several hundred varieties covering apples, pears, plums, gages, cherries, vines, medlars, quinces, and some soft fruit. They have rare Buckinghamshire apple trees, the Bazely and the Long Reinette and possibly the last surviving Black Prince apple. Kingswood Lane, Ludgershall HP18 9RB. 01844 237415
Orchard services and produce in Oxford
- Waterperry Gardens – produce apple juice from their own orchards, and have been trialling old Oxfordshire varieties recently planted in a new orchard. Waterperry’s 8 acres of gardens is a legacy from the residential womens horticultural college founded by Beatrix Havergal in the 1930s. Tea Shop and Garden Shop. 65 varieties of apple are grown here although only about 25 of these are available commercially. Also grow plums, greengages and pears, including unusual varieties like Beurre Hardy, Gorham and Glou Morceau. We press up to 22 different varieties of apple, depending on the season, in our traditional cider press. Apple juice available to buy in the Waterperry Garden Shop, as well as at a number of outlets around Oxford.
- Millets Farm Centre – Millets Farm is based at two locations: an extensive Farm Centre at Frilford in Oxfordshire; and a traditional Farm Shop at the Evesham Country Park. Nine apple varieties grown in own traditional “big tree” orchard: Discovery, Katy, Lord Lambourne, Greensleeves, Howgate Wonder, Bramley, Spartan, Cox, and Egremont Russet. Plus plums and pears, for PYO and for sale in farm shop. Also produce own fruit juices pressed on the same day of picking. Fruit juice available online. Kingston Road (A415), Frilford, Abingdon. 01865 391555
- My Apple Juice – have provided an apple & pear pressing service since 2009, now from their base near Hungerford. They are driven by the fact that most apples in private gardens go to waste. Many people have more apples than they want as juice but kindly bring us their extra fruit to reduce waste. These can be bottled, pasteurised and labelled for local fundraising groups who then profit from a minimally processed, healthy, locally grown and produced product. They also sell raw Apple Cider Vinegar, and Elderflower cordial from elderflowers collected within a 400 m radius of their home. The press is at: The Cider Barn, Hungerford Park, Inkpen Road, Hungerford Berkshire RG17 0RT 01488 686976
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