Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as farm wins champion award

Richard and Mark Smedley of Four Elms Fruit Farm with their award winning apple juice. Ref shs 43 18

Richard and Mark Smedley of Four Elms Fruit Farm with their award winning apple juice. Ref shs 43 18TI 3769. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth juice presser has secured the top prize at regional awards to add to their growing list of honours.

Four Elms Fruit Farm have ‘something to shout about’ after winning their 12th Taste of theWest award.

Their cox/bramley juice won Champion Non-Alcoholic Cold Drink at this year’s ceremony held at Exeter University.

The champion award was one of five awards won by the farm including two golds and two silvers.

Richard Smedley, who is the senior partner and director of Four Elms Juice Limited, said: “For a small business like ourselves, to win consistent awards as high as that is quite outstanding.”

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The farm is run by Richard and his family and is one of the largest remaining commercial apple growers in the South West.

The family were frantically picking apples during the ceremony at the Great Hall in but Sue Smedley said they were “absolutely thrilled” to win the top prize.

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Richard added: “My son Mark looks after all the apple juice and the praise should go to him for making it.”

They grow many varieties of apple including cox, russet, braeburn, gala and bramley and were selected as one of two finalists for the champion award alongside Palmers Brewery from Dorset.

Richard explains: “The way it works is when Taste of the West hold their food awards.

“The successful entrants can be awarded bronze, silver or gold in all food categories then they narrow down the gold award winners into the last category and select a category champion from that.”

The farm has ranked highly at the awards in previous years but this is their first juice that has received champion recognition.

The judges described the juice as ‘incredibly refreshing’ and commented on the evident presence of both variations of apple in a very well blended juice.

They added: “one glass is simply not enough.”

Four Elms Fruit Farm is more than 50 years old and has been passed through three generations of the Smedley family.

They grow 14 varieties of apples across their 70 acre farm and have produced seven multi-award winning juices.

Now that the apple season is under way, the apple shed has opened which allows visitors a glimpse at the packing process.

Members of the public can see where the apples are grown and the packing facility in action.

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