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About Us 2017-06-16T15:17:46+00:00
“Our Bramleys replicate exactly the properties which make the 200 year old seedling world famous. It is extraordinary that this affects the taste of the fruit but comparative tastings have proved that it does.”

Fruit growing began at Norwood Park over 100 years ago in 1910 when John R. Starkey (MP for Newark) planted a Bramley Apple orchard.

Fifty years ago Starkey’s started to grow strawberries and other soft fruit. Today we grow specialist apples and strawberries, blackberries and raspberries for major supermarkets.

The Starkey’s Bramley Apple trees are unique and have a very important heritage! The Original Bramley Tree in Southwell is a legend. Still alive and bearing fruit at over 200 years old, it grew miraculously out of a pip planted by Mary Anne Brailsford in 1809. The name of this mysterious fruit was adopted from Mr Matthew Bramley who later bought the garden and it was developed and marketed by Mr Henry Merryweather.

Since then, the Bramley has achieved cult status and world fame as a cooking apple. Southwell hosts an annual Bramley festival, there is a dedicated stained glass window in our Minster and a Bramley Heritage Trail to follow.

Sadly, the Original Bramley now has honey fungus and will soon pass on to the great orchard in the sky. There WILL be a memorial – we promise! However, in 1994, Sir John Starkey and his scientist pals at the University of Nottingham, took genetic material from the tree to preserve its DNA. In doing so, The Starkeys have protected her genetic inheritance for future generations by cloning her and planting a Centenary Orchard just up the road. These are the only commercial copies of the tree and are lovingly tended by hand.

The Original Bramley Tree
The Original Bramley Tree
The Original Bramley Tree

Meet the Family

John Starkey Senior

John Starkey Senior.

Then came William, seen here with one of the original Bramley trees (we still have some of the boxes!)

Then came William, seen here with one of the original Bramley trees (we still have some of the boxes!)

Current Owner, Sir John Starkey - he planted the Centenary Bramley orchard in honour of his grandfather, John.

Current Owner, Sir John Starkey – he planted the Centenary Bramley orchard in honour of his grandfather, John.

Sir John's daughter, Suzannah, who is helping him with the juice and compote business, pictured here with The Daily Telegraph's Xanthe Clay.

Sir John’s daughter, Suzannah, who is helping him with the juice and compote business, pictured here with The Daily Telegraph’s Xanthe Clay.

And Henry, the heir, with wife Georgie and his eldest son, Felix, planting one of the new Bramley trees.

And Henry, the heir, with wife Georgie and his eldest son, Felix, planting one of the new Bramley trees.

We discovered that Bramley apples picked at their maturity when grown from their own root can be enjoyed cooked or in a compote, without the need to add sugar. For a cooking apple this is extraordinary!

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