We have had a wonderful year – these are a few of our photos – do you have more?
Community Gardens & Garden Share
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We’ll be spreading the word about Harvestshare and all our other great projects this weekend – 26th and 27th September 2015 – at Mary Arden’s Farm at Wilmcote near Stratford. We still need help picking apples in their lovely orchard on Saturday morning and on the stall, especially on Sunday. It’s a great opportunity to meet folk, have a go at apple pressing, sell some cloth bags, juice and jams and generally have a good time.
Come along to our members’ meeting to find out what we do and how you can get involved.
We have a guest speaker, organic gardener and keen advocate of environmentally friendly gardening Judith Conroy who’ll be joining us at 2pm .
Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, which collects fruit that would otherwise go unpicked from gardens and orchards in and around Stratford upon Avon, has saved over two tonnes of fruit from going to waste this autumn.
Now in its third year, the scheme put over 2.3 tonnes to good use in 2013 through free weekly distributions to local care homes and children’s groups and through processing fruit into jams, juices and chutneys. Since its launch as a pilot in the autumn of 2010, Harvest Share has saved over 6.5 tonnes of local fruit from going to waste.
Harvest Share organiser Roger Matthews praised the work of the volunteers who pick the fruit and help to sort and deliver it. “Over 350 hours of volunteer time has gone into this year’s Harvest Share,” he said. “Without the support of volunteers, Harvest Share would not be possible.” Pupils from Welcombe Hills Special School in Stratford are among the regular pickers.
He also highlighted the contribution of tree owners who offer their fruit to the scheme. “The orchards at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm, which are contributed by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, are the backbone of the scheme. Together they have contributed half this year’s fruit. But the trees in private gardens and orchards are just as important. We have had several new gardens contributed this year – in fact, we were not able to pick all the fruit on offer.”
Harvest Share works by picking regularly three-four times a week from the beginning of August to the end of October. Fruit is put into a temporary store – this year the Mulberry Centre in Stratford town centre, which was held on a short-term lease from Warwickshire County Council. The fruit is then sorted and distributed every Monday.
This year’s harvest was complicated by the late ripening of the fruit, following a cold start to the spring earlier in the year. Very little fruit was ready to pick in August, while some fruit was still not ripe at the end of October. “But despite these difficulties, we have made a good harvest in 2013,” said Roger Matthews.
Stratford Harvest Share got under way on Saturday 17 August when a team of volunteers picked early apples (and a few early plums) in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, near Stratford upon Avon.
The team picked 80 kilos of fruit – mainly Beauty of Bath, a variety which was prized by the Victorians for ripening in July. The delayed harvest this year meant we were picking in mid-August, about three weeks late. The fruit has gone to make the first juice of the season, while the plums have already been turned into jam.
There’s a good crop of fruit on the trees – in particular, apples – but most of it is still far from ripe. There’ll be some good harvests as we get into September and October, but at the moment, pickings are still quite small.
If you would like to take part in Harvest Share, volunteers are needed for picking – Wednesday mornings, Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings – and for sorting and distribution on Monday mornings. Contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503 if you would like to help.
Our fruit trees may be dormant in the cold weather, but Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme has been active over the winter with planting new trees and pruning older ones.
The planting has taken place in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, where the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has provided a number of young apple trees to fill gaps in the orchard layout. The trees are mostly heritage varieties, including Leathercoat – mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry IV, Harvey – first recorded in 1629 – and Foxwhelp – a cider apple first described by the writer John Evelyn in 1664. The Trust has also planted new trees itself at the orchards at Mary Arden’s Farm.
In addition to planting, Harvest Share volunteers have also pruned nearly 50 trees in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Harvest Share organiser Roger Matthews said: “It’s been some years since trees in the orchard were regularly pruned, so we’ve only made a start this year. There are another 80 trees, including some of the largest in the orchard, which still need pruning – and some of those trees we’ve pruned this year will need further work next winter.”
Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, which collects fruit which would otherwise not be harvested and puts it to good use, was the largest scheme of its type in the country over the last two years. Click here for further information – or contact us to get involved.
Work for the 2013 fruit harvest will begin early this year, when Harvest Share volunteers start work on winter maintenance in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust property in Shottery.
The orchard is the largest single contributor to Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, providing nearly half the crop in 2011. But many of the 200 trees in the orchard are in need of pruning – and there are also gaps where new trees can be planted. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has recently purchased a number of traditional fruit varieties for plantings in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and in orchards at Mary Arden’s Farm.
The first work session is scheduled to take place on Saturday 12 January, starting at 10.30 am. And there will be further sessions on the mornings of Wednesday 16 January, Saturday 9 February, Wednesday 20 February, Saturday 9 March and Wednesday 20 March.
For more details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme saved over 3 tonnes of local fruit from waste in 2011 – making it the biggest scheme of its type in the country.
Some 70 volunteers put in over 700 hours of work to make Harvest Share a great success. Over 1 tonne of fruit was distributed free to local care homes and children’s groups, while nearly 2 tonnes was made into juices, jams and chutneys.
A report on the scheme is now available from Transition Stratford, and there will be opportunities to hear more about the 2011 harvest – and help plan 2012’s – at meetings on Sunday 22 January, starting as 2.00 pm, and Wednesday 1 February, starting at 7.30 pm. Both meetings will be held at Lifeways, 30 Albany Road, Stratford upon Avon.
If you want to help with Harvest Share in 2012 – through help with picking, sortingor delivery – or if you want to contribute fruit to the scheme, contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503.
Hundreds of people enjoyed the glorious sunshine last weekend – Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October – when they visited Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share stand at the Apple Days event at Mary Arden’s Farm in Wilmcote.
Visitors saw apple juice being made using Transition Stratford’s apple press – and enjoyed themselves by sampling the results! They also had the opportunity to buy apple juice, jams and chutneys made from fruit collected by the Harvest Share scheme – and everything sold out by Sunday afternoon.
There was also great interest – especially from children – in a display of over 50 apples currently in fruit in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, where Harvest Share volunteers collect fruit every Saturday morning. Leaflets about Harvest Share and other food projects run by Transition Stratford disappeared as quickly as the Harvest Share produce.
Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme collects unwanted fruit from gardens and orchards in and around Stratford upon Avon and distributes it free to local care homes and children’s groups, as well as arranging for surpluses to be processed and preserved. Since the 2011 scheme started in August, over 2 tonnes of local fruit have been saved from waste by the scheme.
With over 1.5 tonnes of local fruit so far saved from waste by Harvest Share, there will be a chance to find out more about the scheme at the Apple Days at Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October.
Transition Stratford will be running a stall on both days which will give more details about Harvest Share’s progress this year – as well as showing some of the varieties of apples we have found at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. There will also be opportunities to buy jams and juices made from fruit collected by Harvest Share over the past two months – and live demonstrations of apple pressing.
Transition Stratford’s stall be one of three dozen stalls, exhibitions and events at the Apple Days. For more information about the Apple Days and Mary Arden’s Farm, see the website of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust www.shakespeare.org.uk.