Friday, 23 November 2012

The Bramley Apple

Bramley Apples, grown in our orchard.
The first Bramley apple tree was grown from seeds planted by a young Mary Ann Brailwood, in the garden of her parents house in Southwell, Nottinghamshire in the year 1809.

Nearly 40 years later the cottage was purchased by a local butcher, by the name of Matthew Bramley. It was another 10 years before anything would come of this. In 1856, Henry Merryweather enquired with Mr Bramley if he could make cutttings from the tree in his garden, so that he may grow and sell the fruit. Bramley was more than happy to oblige, on the condition that the apple would be named after him.

Fast forward to 1862, and the first recorded sale of the Bramley apple is found in the accounting books of Henry Merryweather. Mr Geo Cooper of Upton Hall purchased 3 of the apples on October 31st of the year.

The Royal Horticultural Societys Fruit Committee was presented with fruits from the grafted apple in 1876. The society offered high commendations of the apple.

Between 1889 and 1893 the Bramley received the First Class Certificate from the Committee of the Nottingham Botanical Society. The Royal Horticultural Society also awarded their First Class Certification in August of 1893.

The original Bramley tree suffered a horrible accident during a violent storm in the year 1900, the strong winds ripped the tree from the ground. Unusually, the tree managed to survive it’s ordeal and it still produces Bramley apples to this day.

The Bramley went mainstream during the First World War. A great many trees were planted, as the apples were a highly sought after source of food in such dire times. By the mid 40’s there were over 6 million Bramley trees producing fruit for farmers.

The Bramley Campaign was founded in 1989, with the intent to fund campaigns aimed at consumers. The organisation is funded by voluntary subscription and works closely with fruit farmers to expand the market and provide opportunities.

The Queens Golden Jubillee in 2003 was a special year not only for the British nation, but for the Bramley apple as well. The Tree Council, who have a nationwide network of tree wardens chose the Bramley tree as 1 of 50 great British trees, in order to mark the event.

To this day the Bramley retains it’s nickname “The King of Covent Garden”, and you can find the Bramley at the New Covent Garden Market all year round.

Fenland is one of the largest producers of the Bramley apple, and here at the Orchard tea room we contribute significantly to that with our prized trees.

You can purchase Bramley apples at our Farm Shop now:

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Rememberance Sunday

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? 
Only the monstrous anger of the guns. 
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle 
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; 
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; 
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all? 
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes 
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. 
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; 
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, 
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

-Anthem for Doomed Youth

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Feed the birds this winter.

There are different mixes for feeders and for birdtables and ground feeding. The better mixtures contain plenty of flaked maize, sunflower seeds, and peanut granules.
Small seeds, such as millet, attract mostly house sparrows, dunnocks, finches, reed buntings and collared doves, while flaked maize is taken readily by blackbirds. Tits and greenfinches favour peanuts and sunflower seeds. Mixes that contain chunks or whole nuts are suitable for winter feeding only. Pinhead oatmeal is excellent for many birds. Wheat and barley grains are often included in seed mixtures, but they are really only suitable for pigeons, doves and pheasants, which feed on the ground and rapidly increase in numbers, frequently deterring the smaller species.
Avoid seed mixtures that have split peas, beans, dried rice or lentils as again only the large species can eat them dry. These are added to some cheaper seed mixes to bulk them up. Any mixture containing green or pink lumps should also be avoided as these are dog biscuit, which can only be eaten when soaked.
Black sunflower seeds
These are an excellent year-round food, and in many areas are even more popular than peanuts. The oil content is higher in black than striped ones, and so they are much better. Sunflower hearts (the husked kernels) are a popular no-mess food.
Nyjer seeds
These are small and black with a high oil content. They need a special type of seed feeder, and are particular favourites with goldfinches and siskins.


These are rich in fat and are popular with tits, greenfinches, house sparrows, nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers and siskins. Crushed or grated nuts attract robins, dunnocks and even wrens. Nuthatches and coal tits may hoard peanuts. Salted or dry roasted peanuts should not be used. Peanuts can be high in a natural toxin, which can kill birds, so buy from a reputable dealer, such as our online shop, to guarantee freedom from aflatoxin.

Bird cake and food bars

Fat balls and other fat-based food bars are excellent winter food. If they are sold in nylon mesh bags, always remove the bag before putting the fat ball out – the soft mesh can trap and injure birds. You can make your own bird cake by pouring melted fat (suet or lard) onto a mixture of ingredients such as seeds, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal, cheese and cake. Use about one-third fat to two-thirds mixture. Stir well in a bowl and allow it to set in a container of your choice. An empty coconut shell, plastic cup or tit bell makes an ideal bird cake ‘feeder’. Alternatively, you can turn it out onto your birdtable when solid.

Live foods and other insect foods

Mealworms are relished by robins and blue tits, and may attract other insect-eating birds such as pied wagtails.
Mealworms are a natural food and can be used to feed birds throughout the year. It can become quite expensive to constantly buy mealworms, and many people want to grow their own. You can culture your own mealworms (click on the link to the left). If you cannot face this performance, buy your mealworms from the professionals, consoling yourself with the thought that successful mealworm breeding is even more difficult than it sounds. Click on the link to the right to buy mealworms from our online shop.
It is very important that any mealworms fed to birds are fresh. Any dead or discoloured ones must not be used as they can cause problems such as salmonella poisoning.
Waxworms are excellent, but expensive. Proprietary foods for insect-eating birds, such as ant pupae and insectivorous and softbill food are available from bird food suppliers and pet shops. Insect food appropriately offered can attract treecreepers and wrens.

Cooking fat

Fat from cooking is bad for birds. The problem with cooked fat from roasting tins and dishes is that the meat juices have blended with the fat and when allowed to set, this consistency makes it prone to smearing, not good for birds' feathers. It is a breeding ground for bacteria, so potentially bad for birds' health. Salt levels depend on what meat is used and if any salt is added during cooking.
Lard and beef suet on their own are fine as they re-solidify after warming and as they are pure fat, it is not as suitable for bacteria to breed on.

Polyunsaturated margarines or vegetable oils

These are unsuitable for birds. Unlike humans, birds need high levels of saturated fat, such as raw suet and lard. They need the high energy content to keep warm in the worst of the winter weather, since their body reserves are quickly used up, particularly on cold winter nights. The soft fats can easily be smeared onto the feathers, destroying the waterproofing and insulating qualities.

Dog and cat food

Meaty tinned dog and cat food form an acceptable substitute to earthworms during the warm, dry part of the summer when worms are beyond the birds' reach. Blackbirds readily take dog food, and even feed it to their chicks.
Dry biscuits are not recommended as birds may choke on the hard lumps. It is sometimes added to cheaper seed mixtures for bulk. Soaked dog biscuit is excellent, except in hot weather as it quickly dries out. Petfood can attract larger birds such as magpies and gulls, and also neighbourhood cats. If this is likely to be a problem, it is best avoided.

Milk and coconut

Never give milk to any bird. A bird's gut is not designed to digest milk and it can result in serious stomach upsets, or even death. Birds can, however, digest fermented dairy products such as cheese. Mild grated cheese can be a good way of attracting robins, wrens and dunnocks.
Give fresh coconut only, in the shell. Rinse out any residues of the sweet coconut water from the middle of the coconut before hanging it out to prevent the build-up of black mildew.
Desiccated coconut should never be used as it may swell once inside a bird and cause death.

Rice and cereals

Cooked rice, brown or white (without salt added) is beneficial and readily accepted by all species during severe winter weather. Uncooked rice may be eaten by birds such as pigeons, doves and pheasants but is less likely to attract other species.
Porridge oats must never be cooked, since this makes them glutinous and could harden around a bird's beak. Uncooked porridge oats are readily taken by a number of bird species.
Any breakfast cereal is acceptable birdfood, although you need to be careful only to put out small quantities at a time. It is best offered dry, with a supply of drinking water nearby, since it quickly turns into pulp once wetted.

Mouldy and stale food

Many moulds are harmless, but some that can cause respiratory infections in birds, and so it is best to be cautious and avoid mouldy food entirely.
If food turns mouldy or stale on your birdtable, you are probably placing out too large a quantity for the birds to eat in one day. Always remove any stale or mouldy food promptly. Stale food provides a breeding ground for salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. At least one type of salmonella causes death among such species as greenfinches and house sparrows. Large quantities of food scattered on the ground may attract rats and mice. Rats can carry diseases that affect humans

Excellent info taken from the RSPB website ad don't forget the birds will need water.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Pumpkin pie recipe.

Delicious pumpkin pie.


For the pastry
  • sweet short crust pastry case (or a packet of ready made sweet short crust pastry with 40g/1½oz crushed pecans mixed in.)
For the filling

Preparation method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Use a shop bought sweet crust pastry case, about 9 inch/23 cm diameter and 1½ inches/4 cm deep.
  3. To make the filling, steam the pumpkin then place in a coarse sieve and press lightly to extract any excess water.
  4. Then lightly whisk the eggs and extra yolk together in a large bowl.
  5. Place the sugar, spices and the cream in a pan, bring to simmering point, giving it a whisk to mix everything together. Then pour it over the eggs and whisk it again briefly.
  6. Now add the pumpkin pureé, still whisking to combine everything thoroughly.
  7. Pour the filling into your pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes, by which time it will puff up round the edges but still feel slightly wobbly in the centre.
  8. Remove the pie from the oven and place the tin on a wire cooling rack. Serve chilled (stored loosely covered in foil in the fridge) with some equally chilled créme fraïche, but warm or at room temperature would be fine.

    Image credit TheCulinaryGeek. Recipe via BBC Food.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Circus is in town!

Mr Fips Wonder Circus is in town! Just up the road from our tea room.
The circus will be in Wisbech from Wednesday the 10th of October, until Sunday the 14th.

We went along for the opening night on Wednesday and the performance was excellent!

Remaining showtimes are as follows:

Thursday 11th: 7.00pm
Friday 12th: 7.00pm
Saturday 13th: 2.00pm and 5.00pm
Sunday 14th: 2.00pm

If you pop into the tea room we have discount vouchers that will allow you to see the show for as low as £8 per adult and £7 per child (grandstand seating only, ringside seats are £9 per adult and £8 per child with the voucher).

You can buy tickets from the onsite box office, or by calling 07719 877422, from between 10.00am and 8.00pm. Cash only.

Find the circus on Facebook:

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning

Every year Macmillan Cancer Support hold “The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”, to raise money for their cause. Volunteers from across Britain (and other countries who wish to participate) are invited to hold a coffee morning with donations going to the charity.

In 2011 an astonishing 51,000 volunteers held coffee mornings and raised £10,000,000 for Macmillan Cancer Suppoort.

Now, The Orchard Tea room was but a twinkle in the eye back in 2011, but this year we’re ready to help contribute to this important cause. We invite all visitors, family & friends to join us on Friday September the 28th for coffee and fundraising.

More information about us here:
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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Modelling in the Orchard.

Earlier this week we had a visit from model Rebbeca Press. She was shooting some photos for her portfolio in the orchard. Here are the results.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Age is Just a Number charity yard sale

Age is Just a Number is a recently formed charitable organisation in Fenland.

Providing help and support to those over the age of 65, Age is Just a number offers counselling and therapy from a number of trained professionals.

This weekend, on Sunday September the 9th, they’re holding a gigantic yard sale in order to raise money for their cause. Come along and support a local charity, helping local people.

The sale will take place from 9am until 4pm.

The yard sale will be held at Tamar Computers, Redmoor Lane, Wisbech. That’s directly opposite The Orchard Tea Room!

Parking and refreshments available at the tea room.

If you require any further information please read this article:

Or you can call Karen Day on: 01945 583831

If you need help finding us:

Monday, 3 September 2012

Plums at Redmoor Lane Farm Shop

It’s that time of year again folks. No, I’m not talking about sending the kids back to school and university, nor am I talking about the winding down of British summertime. I am infact talking about plum season!

Here at The Orchard Tea Room & Farm Shop, we’ve got an amazing selection of plums. Everything from the nationwide favourite victoria plums, to the just as beloved golden gages.

Redmoor lane farm shop has been a staple of the local community in Wisbech for many years, providing locally grown produce to not only the immediate community, but those travelling far and wide in search of traditional, ethically produced fruit and vegetables.

There’s always great demand from our customers for the plums when they come into season, so please make sure to come on over sooner rather than later, we’d hate for you to be disappointed!

You can find us on Redmoor Lane, Wisbech:

We’ll be keeping you updated as other products come into stock, so make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The health benefits of apple juice

Apples are great to eat, we wouldn’t grow them if they weren’t, but do you know what else is great? Apple juice! Not only is it a delicious natural drink, but we’ve compiled a short list of some health benefits you probably didn’t realise your apple juice was granting you.

1. Apple juice is packed with antioxidants, which can help protect against environmental damage to your skin, some scientists also say it can slow down the aging of skin, if that’s not enough for you, antioxidants are also know to prevent cancer!

2. A glass of apple juice typically contains around 117 calories, or to put it bluntly, about 30 less than the average soft drink, making it a great healthy alternative for those attempting to lose some weight or just stay in shape.

3. Apple juice can be used to effectively cleanse your intestines, improving their overall general health and ability to function. You can also use apple juice as a way to deal with constipation.

4. Drinking just a small glass of apple juice daily could reduce the risk of developing asthma by up to half in children, bananas (the closest performing fruit) reduced the risk by only up to a third!

5. Medical research has shown that apple juice can reduce cholesterol, and slow down processes that can lead to heart disease, just a small glass daily can reduce the risk of risk of developing heart disease.

So there we have it, 5 reasons to drink more apple juice and stay healthier than ever before.

We carry a full range of juices, varying from sweet, to something a little more tart in our Redmoor Lane farm shop.

Stop by and have a browse of our selection, all the juice is made from the apples we grow right here in the orchard.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A47 Services @ The Orchard Tea Room

Instead of stopping off at a commercial fast food restaurant, or petrol station for a toilet break and snack, why not drop by The Orchard Tea Room instead.

Located just off the A47, we’re the perfect stop off for those of you coming from Nottingham, Leicester, etc on your way to Norfolk.

We have a full range of Teas, Coffees and Cakes. Full bathroom facilities are also available to our customers.

Need to stretch your legs? We have a beautiful working English orchard, filled with a variety of apple trees for you to wander in. Dogs are more than welcome, we know how restless they can get on long car journeys, they may appreciate the stop even more than you do!

Family is important to us here at The Orchard Tea Room, we will always make the utmost effort to ensure every member of yours is treated with the respect and care that they deserve, and we welcome visitors of all ages, young and old.

Stop by sometime and you’ll see how great things are here, we’re just off the A47.

Next time say no to the commercial services, and give a family business a try, you won’t regret it.

On Facebook: The Orchard Tea Room
And Twitter: @OrchardTeaRoom

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Freshly baked scones.

Scones are a traditional British quick bread, originally coming from the Scots. Ingredients are usually Wheat, Barley or Oatmeal, with baking powder to leaven them. Scones are an essential part of the British Cream tea, or the Devonshire Tea.

Did you know we bake all our scones fresh on the day?

Why not pop in & try one, you'll definitely notice the difference.

Served with Jam & Cream, or there are savoury cheese scones.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Cream teas at The Orchard Tea Room.

The suns shining bright in fenland this week.

How have you all been spending your time in this gorgeous weather?

We've whipped up some of our signature cream teas and soaked up the rays in the orchard.

Come on by and join us!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

English strawberries, from our farm shop.

Come and visit us at Redmoor Lane, Wisbech.

All locally grown produce.

For more information please visit:

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Taste testing @ The Orchard Tea Room

Before we open, we had to make sure that everything was perfect. Below are some photographs from a family and friends event we held to offer a taste test.

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