Ampleforth Abbey’s monks are hoping for a bumper apple crop later this year.

Last year’s early spring was too warm and proved a disaster for orchards with one of the worst apple crop in many years

Apple trees bloomed early after temperatures soared only to be ruined when a cold  snap hit later. That and wet weather that stopped bees from leaving their hives meant blossom was killed or left unpollinated.

Today, however, the famous Ampleforth Apple orchard in North Yorkshire , one of the most northerly commercial orchards  in England, is looking forward to a much better season – and that’s good news for cider drinkers.

Cameron Smith, Orchard Manager at Ampleforth, said that the prolonged wintry weather put apple blossom on hold, and with the signs of rising temperatures, it could be excellent conditions for a bumper harvest in late summer.

2 Cider Bottles in Abbey Window

“If we get  the buds opening into blossom and some warmer weather for the bees to be active  we will get the fruit we need,” said Cameron.

“That will certainly be good for those who like our cider. Last year’s harvest was very low and we were fortunate that we had stocks left over from 2011,”  he continued

“Demand for Ampleforth cider keeps rising and we’ll be able to meet it if we continue to get the right conditions. It was the same all over the country in 2012 but I’m optimistic we won’t be facing a cider shortage this year.”

Ampleforth Abbey Orchards have more than forty varieties of trees and all Ampleforth cider is produced at the Abbey. It has won many awards including at the International Cider Challenge and the Cider World Cup. The orchards were originally planted by the Benedictine monks who set up the monastery in 1802.

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