Business is rosy in North Devon orchard

Cider firm toasts exciting expansion.

BUSINESS is blooming to such an extent in one North Devon orchard that its owner is doubling its size.

At a time when traditional orchards are dwindling and businesses of all kinds are tasting hard times, Peter Hartnoll and his daughter Becci are busy planting for a rosy future.

For more than a decade Peter has run Ostlers Cider Mill at Goodleigh, harvesting the crops from more than 120 cider apple trees he planted on land that was largely overgrown when he bought it 20 years ago.

He has used traditional methods to produce natural cider and the increasingly popular cider vinegar, which has found a growing market in the realms both of cookery and healthy living.

With Becci joining him and the development of new wholesale and internet markets, Ostlers products have been taken ever further afield, including overseas, and turnover rose by 30 per cent last year.

These firm roots have enabled them now to invest in the planting of four more acres of orchard – 150 trees of traditional cider varieties that will potentially double the crop.

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Ostlers’ natural cider vinegar, retaining all the essential enzymes or ‘mother’ of the fruit, concentrates on the long believed health benefits of the product. But traditional cider drinkers have not been forgotten, with a special place included for some sweeter varieties to help cater for a wider range of palates.

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