Pope’s Perry is made at Avenue Cottage in Much Marcle, Herefordshire by the extended family of Janet and Nicholas Pope. Avenue Cottage is a smallholding with old and recently planted orchards, edible hedgerows, ponds, and grazing. The 18th century field patterns have been reinstated, and the original pond re-excavated. New orchards have been planted containing groves of quince, mulberry, medlars, crab apple, hazel nut, walnut, sweet chestnut and wild plum.
The edible hedgerows, which divide the four fields of orchards and grazing and surround the ponds, are planted with wild plums, cornelian cherries, hazel nuts, rosehips, sea buckthorn, and sloes.
Pope’s Perry is made with ‘Blakeney Red’ perry fruit, from trees planted in 1983 by Janet and Nicholas, who have grown all their fruit and vegetables, including kiwi fruit, for more than 30 years. The perry fruit is not sweet enough to eat, but presses well in the autumn and this perry juice is left to ferment naturally for 18 months or more in a small rock cellar underneath Avenue Cottage.
In 2012 Avenue Cottage became the smallest venue to join Herefordshire’s Big Apple organisation, www.bigapple.org.uk, which celebrates the tradition of apple growing and cider making in the rural parishes around Much Marcle.
‘Avenue Cottage Perry’ won both First Prize in the Big Apple Novice Perry Trials, and the Three Counties Novice Award in 2013. The local communities of Marcle Ridge contain many excellent craft food and drink producers, mainly linked to the abundant orchards of Herefordshire which are the source of over half the UK’s cider production.