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Greater Manchester Welcomes Helping Britain Blossom

We celebrated Apple Day in style with the launch Helping Britain Blossom in Greater Manchester.

We returned Fennel Street, formally known as ‘Apple Market’, back to its 19th century apple market roots for the day. Visitors to our historic apple market pop-up, had the opportunity to play a part in mapping out lost orchards in the Greater Manchester region, sampled a variety of British grown organic apples, learnt about Manchester’s apple growing roots and pressed their own apple juice.

One Greater Manchester resident, Tony Riley, heard about Helping Britain Blossom on the radio and hotfooted it down to our pop up apple market with an apple from his garden of an unknown variety.

“I heard about the Helping Britain Blossom event in Manchester on the radio and wanted to come down as I’ve had an apple tree in my garden for 40 years. I’ve never known what variety it is, but the guys on site gave me some interesting thoughts. I hope more people in the Greater Manchester area get involved in this community lost orchard campaign.”

Calling for the people of Greater Manchester to help uncover lost orchards in the region, Helping Britain Blossom will be working to identify orchards in need of restoration. We plan to work with local communities and our partner in Greater Manchester, Red Rose Forest, to help restore 15 orchards in the region. We also have a longer-term ambition to support community groups in harvesting fruit from their orchards and ultimately help them set up their own micro-enterprises.

Dan Hasler, our Greater Manchester Helping Britain Blossom Project Manager comments;

“It may surprise people but Greater Manchester has a rich orchard heritage. The region was once thriving with orchards, many of which have since been neglected or forgotten. Helping Britain Blossom, with the support of people in the Greater Manchester region, hopes to restore some of these lost orchards to their former glory.”

Hannah Barker, Professor of British History at the University of Manchester joined us on the day to share her knowledge of Manchester’s lost orchards. Hannah had this to say on the day;

“Apples have always been an important produce for Greater Manchester. During the 19th century, they dominated the fruit trade, which is why the city’s fruit market was known as ‘Apple Market’. A large portion of the apples sold at the market were sourced from orchards in region. Orchards in city centre gardens and small mixed farms, in the market-gardening districts around Warrington and Stretford, were key suppliers to market.”

We have more fun planned for Greater Manchester this Sunday 25th October as we partner with Hulme Community Garden Centre for their Apple & Pumpkin day. We’ll be there with apple games, juicing and cooking demos, celebrating the humble apple and  showing how the public can become orchard entrepreneurs themselves.

We’d love to meet you and hear your apple and tree stories from across Greater Manchester!

You can find more pictures of our pop-up apple market here.

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Why Orchards Orchards have played an important role in our communities for hundreds of years, providing a communal space for gatherings and celebrations. Find an Orchard Our ambition by 2017 is to help 100 communities to plant, care for and restore their own orchards. And to get things going, we're focusing on cities and towns in seven parts of the UK