Orchards are hotspots for biodiversity; a result of the mosaic of habitats they encompass, including fruit trees themselves, but also scrub, hedgerows, hedgerow trees, non-fruit trees within the orchard, the orchard floor habitats, fallen dead wood and associated features such as ponds and streams.
As a result, uncommon and rare birds, invertebrates, mammals and amphibians all call traditional orchards home.
Of course, one can not gloss over the fact that most modern apple orchards will be utilising spays and applications to control certain invertebrates and fungi. But an orchard, of any description, will always be more bio-active than a patch of mono-culture arable crop, devoid or any adjoining habitat, and a subsoil that has been tilled into oblivion.
The cider making process is inherently lower in energy use than other drinks, such as beer. The vast majority of the juice fermented into cider is of UK origin, and often grown directly by the cider maker, or in the immediate vicinity, meaning low transportation.
Unlike brewing or distilling, fermentation and maturation of cider requires little extreme of heating or cooling. Stable temperature and time do the business!
Orchards are fabulous at locking carbon into the soil. Natural fixing by photosynthesis can be undertaken on a scale greater than with annual crops because of the size of the canopy. In many ways it’s more like a woodland than an agricultural landscape.
Twenty percent of global carbon dioxide emmisions are as a result of ploughing. Constant turning of the land opens up the soil to carbon loss and soil erosion, and year after year soils become poorer and thinner. With orchards being a no till environment, carbon stays safely locked in the ground.
“We fell in love with cider because, in its purest form, it’s a beautifully natural drink bringing with it many benefits to the environment and the community. Trees are the lungs of the planet. The great orchards of the UK and the ciders and perries made from them are something we must all cherish and support.”