AS anyone with an apple tree in their garden will know, keeping on top of the fruit at this time of year can be a challenge.

Windfall apples are often too bruised to eat and there is a limit to how much stewed fruit you can stock in the freezer.

However, one couple are offering people an alternative to use their apples in a tasty and natural way.

Yorkshire Wolds Apple Juice, based just outside Norton, was set up 11 years ago and taken over last year by Jon and Jane Birch.

A former primary school teacher, Jane became a full-time mum in 2012, while Jon works part time at East Barnby Outdoor Education Centre near Whitby.

Jon had also helped out at pressing time over the past few years at Yorkshire Wolds Apple Juice and when the opportunity came to take over the business, the couple felt it would fit around their other commitments.

Jane said: “We also felt it would fit around our family life, which is very important to us. We also feel its important to eat and drink as much natural food as possible, trying where possible to buy local and British produce.”

After taking over the business in November last year the made over 17,000 bottles of apple juice in around five weeks.

“We use a cold press method and English grown varieties of apples and produce a traditional, cloudy apple juice,” Jane said.

“Nothing is added or taken out meaning that it tastes amazing, like proper apple juice should. This is where we got the idea for our tag line - ‘just taste the apples’.

It’s been an interesting learning curve and a complete departure from our other jobs but we are pleased that we have increased our business customer numbers this year.

Jane said: “We feel, as a small, independent business that it’s important to work with other local businesses that share similar values to us. They appreciate great tasting, traditional food and produce that is made locally. Some of our existing customers in the local area are Malton Patisserie, The Tea Shop in Pickering and Tate Smith in their Derventio Shop, they are also our main distributor as well. New customers this year include The Private Hill at Acklam and The Garden Shed in Sand Hutton. We also supply Bettys, via Tate Smith, and a variety of bistros, pubs, coffee shops, restaurants and holiday businesses across North Yorkshire.”

Jane said that they would shortly be relaunching a fruit pressing service where they would press fruit, bottle and pasteurise the juice . “We guarantee that people will only get their own unique juice back,” she added.

“It is a great way to use up surplus fruit and the juice would make fantastic unique gift.

"We are also looking to produce juice blends again, as well as previous favourite flavours we are hoping to produce some new ones, using traditional British flavours.”

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