We are so happy to introduce our newest local apple suppliers, Kathy and John Pye of Old Orchard Farm. Thousands of pounds of apples and pears from their heritage trees will be going into our cider mill this fall to create some excellent Pender cider, including unique varieties such as Golden Russet, Wagner, Yellow Belle Fleur, and a perry pear that we plan to release as a single-varietal small batch.
As John and Kathy tell us, when they purchased the farmhouse and orchard about ten years ago they were charmed by the idyllic daffodil-lined orchard in full blossom, and admittedly didn't quite realize what they were getting into: their assumption was that they would be able to use all of the fruit for homemade pies and jams, but they quickly realized the trees produced far more fruit than they could ever hope to use in a single season. So—despite being “retired”—they began operating the orchard as a farm, selling fresh fruit and preserves from their roadside stand.
Old Orchard Farm has a well-known settler history: it was established in 1891 by Washington Grimmer, a European settler, in what is now called Port Washington. The farmhouse and 160 acres were then sold in 1902 to Annie and Spencer Percival, and it is assumed that they planted most of the apple and pear trees that remain. The original farmhouse is also still there in beautiful condition, as you can see in the bottom photos (left photo from the Pender Islands Museum).
We’re excited to collaborate with Old Orchard Farm this year and in the years to come, adding the flavours and stories of their orchard to our ciders.