Richard Morgan-Jones, a Herefordshire-based apple grower, has been given a special award and praised by Thatchers Cider for the exceptional quality of the apples he produces.
Richard, who has followed in his father’s footsteps in growing and supplying apples to Thatchers, was presented with the Thatchers Apple Grower of the Year award at the cidermakers’ annual Wassail celebrations. Richard supplies seven different apple varieties to Thatchers, both bittersweet and dessert, from Katy early in the season, through to Yarlington Mill as one of the last to be harvested.
Richard Johnson, chief cidermaker at Thatchers says, “Richard has put in an enormous amount of effort throughout the growing and harvest season to ensure his apples are of the highest quality. In fact, this last harvest he supplied us with 101 trailer-loads of fruit, which were all fantastic quality from September through to November. That is a real achievement over such a large harvest. Richard’s dedication to quality matches our own and truly reflects our ethos that the best cider starts in the orchard.” Thatchers presents the award each year to recognise the commitment to quality that the growers have demonstrated when supplying fruit into the Thatchers cider mill.
Thatchers has over 500 acres of its own orchards in and around its cider mill at Myrtle Farm at Sandford in Somerset, as well as several growers throughout the West Country. “Climate and soil, as well as the expertise of the grower, all play their part in producing top quality apples for cidermaking,” continues Richard Johnson. “As a cidermaker we have our favourite apple varieties to suit our own style of ciders; Richard Morgan-Jones supplies us with Katy, which is pressed into our single variety cider of the same name, newer apple varieties such as Gilly and Jane, and much-loved bittersweet varieties Dabinett and Yarlington Mill. We test every batch of apples that arrive at Myrtle Farm during harvest for quality and reward our growers accordingly. This year Richard Morgan-Jones excelled, and we are very happy that he’s our Apple Grower of the Year.”
CAPTION -Richard Johnson (left), Thatchers Chief Cidermaker, with Richard Morgan-Jones, Thatchers’ Apple Grower of the Year