The UK is the largest producer of cider in the EU and Herefordshire/Worcestershire accounts for more than 70% of its production. Part of the reason for this is the climate and the soil conditions – a mild maritime climate with year-round rainfall which creates the perfect growing conditions.
In the middle of the 19 th Century, the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire were covered in cider apple orchards but by the end of that century, farmers had neglected their orchards. They had not renewed their stock and they were not treating cider apples as a commercial crop. This trend has gradually been reversed and in recent years, the rate of decline has stabilised. Yields have hugely increased and intense research has developed trees that can resist factors such as late frosts and disease. Today, high yielding orchards in Herefordshire can produce 40-55 tons of cider apples per hectare.