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Delicious Magazine Produce Awards
Delicious Magazine Produce Award Finalist 2018

delicious. magazine is one of the top food magazines and three years ago they launched awards for the best food and drink produce in the country. We entered Cotchel apple juice for the first time this year and were judged up against some stiff competition in the Eastern region heats at the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival.

We’re thrilled to hear that the judges loved Cotchel Topaz & Evelina, Braeburn and Conference and Braeburn juice all receiving top scores from food entrepreneur William Kendall, Michelin-starred chef Galton Blackiston and food writer / PR Polly Robinson.

Our juices now go through to the national finals to be judged by an esteemed panel of judges at Borough Market later this month.
We wait with baited breath for the result!

You can read more about the delicious. magazine Produce Awards here >

With thanks to sponsors Fisher & Paykel

NewsPolly Robinson
Great Taste Awards - Three Stars for Cotchel Topaz & Evelina

Our Topaz and Evelina Apple Juice has won three stars in the renowned Great Taste Awards 2018 announced on 1 August.  Two other Cotchel juices - Opal and Braeburn - won one star. This is the third consecutive year that we have achieved Great Taste Awards for our apple juice. Great Taste judges described as a “crisp, fresh and well balanced”.

The annual Great Taste Awards organised by the Guild of Fine Food received a record 12,634 entries this year of which under 3% (192) received the ultimate accolade of three stars. The easily identifiable black and gold Great Taste logos have become a stamp of quality recognised by consumers and retailers alike. 

Great Taste Awards 18 3-star-1.jpg

Pete Thompson, Cotchel's founder says:
“We’re delighted to receive this receive this recognition for the quality and taste of our Topaz and Evelina Apple Juice. The award demonstrates that we are making a great tasting fruit juice at the same time of fulfilling our ambition to use fruit we grow but can’t sell into retail and taking steps towards reducing food waste.”

Cotchel Topaz & Evelina juice is a medium sweet and cloudy apple juice made from two unusual red apple varieties which are used as pollinators in the orchards.

Cotchel and three other East Anglian products go through to the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards in London on 2 September where one will be crowned regional champion and one 3-star product will be named Supreme Champion. We wait with baited breath to find out who wins!

To find out about the Great Taste Awards including a full list of winners visit Great Taste Awards 2018 >

The Summer Drought and its impact on the orchards
Wildlife at Thompson's Brook Farm.jpeg

It’s ten o’clock on another hot summer night and I have finally found the perfect temperature on what, for us, has been the hottest day of the year. The catch is that I am sat on the back step rather than in bed, sharing the moment with a few mosquitos.

On the plus side the orchards and wildflower meadow run right up to the door and with them comes the wildlife, right now that includes the hedgehog family. I can’t quite work out how many, at least one adult (mum presumably) and four youngsters I think, prickly cricket balls with a surprising turn of speed. They seem oblivious to my presence actually trundling under my legs while snuffling through the leaves. We have been putting water out for them which may explain their regular visits during the heatwave. Their snuffling, snorting and rummaging through the bushes around the house has  been the soundtrack to the summer nights drifting through the open windows.

On the farm water, or lack thereof, will be the overriding memory for this June and July. It has been drier here than ’76 and we are grateful for our investment in winter-fill reservoirs over the years. We have enough water until mid-August and given this month is often the wettest of the summer we should be ok, fingers crossed.

The wage bill however will be inflated, thanks to the irrigation team working 24-7 week after week. So too the electricity bill - two irrigation pumps running full bore and vacuum coolers & coldstores working hard meant our record electricity bill for June. Hopefully the solar PV will have performed well and we have the consolation all our supply is renewable supplied by

While we have kept current crops alive, growth in most veg grinds to a halt about 25°C so supply has been tight. The apples and pears this autumn will be small as a result of the temperatures and restricted water. Of greater concern is the poor emergence of seeds drilled for the winter, the heat and dry reducing germination. While the media is busy discussing stock piling food for Brexit next year, the reality is that UK veg supplies this winter will be reduced so imports will have to increase sooner.

Funnily enough the heatwave has broken before publishing this blog, the final few days of July seeing more rain than May, June and July put together. Either the advent of school holidays or agreeing to buy a neighbouring farmers reservoir must have seen to that. At least it gives us farmers something different to moan about, and the hedgehogs aren’t keeping me awake at night

Cotchel launches in Chelmsford Star Cooperatives
Cotchel Juice.jpeg

Cotchel is arriving in west Essex!

We're very excited to announce that from 1 December, three of our juices will be available in 23 Chelmsford Star Cooperatives in and around Chelmsford. Chelmsford Star is an independent co-operative society operating in Essex with an ambition to support Essex food and drink producers through their "Only Way is Local' campaign.

We met Chelmsford Star's Stewart Linehan, Stock & Merchandising Manager, recently at the Coggeshall Food Festival and got chatting about our aim to give a new lease of life to the apples and pears we grow and cannot sell. Stewart says:

“I recently attended the Coggeshall Food festival with my family where we came across a horse trailer selling warm cups of mulled juice and bottles of Apple and Pear juice. I got chatting to Pete Thomson who gave me the background story about Cotchel and the great work they are doing, not only reduce food waste, but also to produce great tasting juice with bold and bright bottle design - something that I felt had a place within our local food range.”

Chelmsford Star Coops will stock three of our juices: Braeburn; Opal and Braeburn & Conference Pear.

Perfect timing for the festive season as Braeburn & Conference Pear Juice has complex spicy flavours and is delicious warmed gently with mulling spices. The perfect non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine or cider at Christmas.

Stockists, NewsPolly Robinson