From the orchards
Apples and Pears:
Here in Thornham, we have over 40 acres of active orchards in which we grow 160 different varieties of apples and pears, including more than 120 varieties which are native to East Anglia. We have the well-known and much beloved Cox’s Orange Pippin, Bramley, Discovery, Laxtons and Worcester. There is a plethora of Russets, from Egremont and St. Edmonds to Pineapple and the Norfolk Royal (from just down the road in Burnham Overy Staithe). And then there are the East-Anglian heritage orchards: a lovingly curated collection of over 100 varieties native to the region. There are some really unusual (and delicious) varieties to be found here, while at the same time preserving a little slice of our history and heritage.
When the apples are in season, we do appreciate that the amount of choice on offer can make choosing difficult, so our customers are always free to try the apples before committing to a choice or we are always more than happy to help point you towards the right varieties for you.
Each year a sizeable portion of the apple (and pear and quince) harvest trundles along to the juice shed, where our fabulous juicing machine whirs and clunks tirelessly to extract the lovely juice from all the fruit. The juice is then pasteurised and a tiny amount of vitamin C is added (to stop it from going brown) before it gets sealed away into bottles, ready to be taken to a new home. There are no nasty chemicals or additives, just all the natural goodness, as nature intended. And what is more, from the moment the fruit is picked from the trees to when the bottle is sat on the shelf of the shop, it has never left the site: think food yards, not food miles!
As the harvest of fruit from the orchards varies somewhat each year, so too does the juice. This year we have a range of varieties and blends which we think offer a great array of flavours and sweetnesses, from the sweet favourite Cox Orange Pippin to the ‘draw your backside to your elbows’ Bramley, with lots and lots in between. Here is the full list:
Cox Orange Pippin
Norfolk Royal Russet
St Edmunds Russet
Quince (with Jona Red)
Pear (with Bramley)
We know that the burden of choice can be a difficult thing to navigate, so why not make use of our tasting table to try the juices and make sure you get the ones that are right for you?
Given how well our apple juice goes down, it seemed only natural to take the next step and start making the grown-up’s version! So, over the last few years, more cider apple trees have been planted and lots of work has been put into turning the proceeds into delicious cider. Once again, it never leaves Drove Orchards, with the juice being fermented and processed entirely here on site.
We have two different still ciders in our ‘Dry’ and ‘Medium’ blends and we then also produce a carbonated version of the medium for those who are fans of the bubbles! Also look out for our rather unusual bottle-conditioned cider when it’s available.
All the ciders are available in 500ml bottles, but the still varieties are also available in 2Ltr and 5Ltr flagons or indeed by the 20Ltr ‘bag in a box’ – every occasion is catered for!
Dry, Still (5.8% abv.): A delicately flavoured cider; with a little astringency but without being really dry. Fabulously refreshing on a warm day.
Medium, Still (5.6% abv.): Undoubtedly our most popular cider; it is a sweeter blend of apples giving a fuller-bodied flavour. Incredibly easy to drink, particularly good when mulled.
Sparkling (5.6% abv.): A carbonated version of the medium still although the bubbles have the effect of making it a little drier. Simply serve in a big glass full of ice!
Bottle Conditioned (7.2% abv.): Bottle-conditioned beers are readily available, but ciders are few and far between, so this one is a bit of a rarity. Undergoing secondary fermentation in the bottle the cider develops a natural light effervescence, a higher alcohol content and a really interesting, complex flavour. Best served lightly chilled. One for the connoisseur!
Address: Thornham Road, Thornham
Hunstanton PE36 6LS
Phone: 01485 525652