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31st May, 2018

Neil Macdonald, who has restored, rejuvenated and replanted hundreds of acres of traditional Somerset orchards through his Orchard Park Farms business, was today (Thursday 31st May) awarded the Coopers’ Trophy for Craftsmanship in the Cider Industry in the Orchards and Cider marquee at the Royal Bath and West Show.

The award is made by the Worshipful Company of Coopers to recognise the many aspects which go to make up the crafts and skills of growing apples and making cider, and was presented by the Master Cooper, Mr Roy Campbell.

Mr Macdonald, who farms near Glastonbury, has been a mover and shaker in the artisan cider industry since 2004, when he co-founded Orchard Pig Cider. Orchard Park Farms was launched in 2010, as a processing hub for thousands of tonnes of top quality bittersweet apples to provide juice for artisan cider-makers, and also to offer orchard consultancy and management services to owners of small traditional orchards.

It has developed into a knowledge centre for the West Country cider industry, with on-farm trials for new methods transforming the way the industry looks at yields and varieties.

Orchards and Cider Chairman, Anthony Gibson, paid tribute to Mr Macdonald as ‘the saviour of Somerset’s traditional orchards”.

Through Orchard Park Farms, he has been responsible for restoring, re-planting and giving a new lease of life to hundreds of acres of traditional orchards in Somerset and beyond, saving an irreplaceable part of our cider-making heritage in the process.

Craftsmanship is at the heart of everything that Neil has done for orchards and cider”, said Mr. Gibson, “and he thoroughly deserves the recognition which this award will bring.”

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