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Alban Eilir 2024 - Season's End

Article: Alban Eilir 2024 - Season's End

Alban Eilir 2024 - Season's End

With Alban Eilir already behind us, the winter months known in Wales as amser gwylad have at last transitioned into those of spring. The forces of light and darkness, although balanced at this time of year, now finally turn towards the light, and we look forward in anticipation of the summer to come. We can also, if we choose, open to the quality of balance in our own lives.

Alban Eilir, the spring equinox, also marked the end of this year’s winter season at Tyn y Berllan. The store is closed, the last of the apple and pear trees have been sent out, and this year’s trees have now been grafted in readiness for next year’s bare root season. It’s been the busiest time of year for us, and there’s still lots to do around the place, but we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on where we are, and where we’ve been, and what is still to come.

Our first year’s trading at Tyn y Berllan has surpassed our expectations. The website seems to have done everything expected of it efficiently and without too many hiccups. We think it looks lovely, and much as we’d like to take credit for this, we couldn’t have done it without the support and input of Steven at Nesty.uk. Along with designing the site, he’s tirelessly responded to our queries, answered our questions without making us feel like complete newbs, and been an all-round tech legend, along with being a lovely, down-to-earth guy to boot. Thank you, Steven, and if anyone’s looking for web design/tech support, we have no hesitation in recommending him.

Of course, we couldn’t have achieved anything without the people who actually used the site or bought our trees! We’re genuinely honoured that you chose to support us, and we hope that whether you made purchases with us or simply approached us with questions or other considerations, we’ve provided you with a service that has made you happy and of which we can be justly proud. If we’ve been unable to supply you with what you were after, we’ve hopefully been able to point you in the direction of those that could – whether another nursery or those with more specialised knowledge than us. Thank you also to those of you who have left reviews on the site – it really does help us to see what’s working and what we could do better. Diolch yn fawr pawb!

There’s still a lot of work for us to do on the website. We’re working through creating some more useful ways of searching for trees, for example by pollination group and harvest times, and we’ll continue to update and expand our descriptions (and hopefully get some more photos up on site) as we discover more information. We continue to work with Welsh Heritage Orchards on drawing up a definitive Pomona of Welsh apples and we hope to soon have more information about this available on the site.

We’ve also grafted some new trees to add to the collection, including an expanded collection of crab apples. They make great pollinators, and we’ll be adding them to the site just as soon as we’ve confirmed the grafts have taken. On that note, you’re more than welcome to continue to browse our proposed selection online, but we won’t have the complete list available until later in the summer, in readiness for opening the store again at some point in July. It may be that not all the currently listed stock will still be available, and there will be new varieties added, so do bear that in mind.

This year’s cider continues to mature in the whiskey barrels and there’s no sign yet of any secondary fermentation occurring, despite the warmer weather. We’ll give it another couple of months at least before sampling any and let you know how we get on. We won’t be selling any, but if anyone fancies a taster, you’d be more than welcome to pop by and share a glass (or two!) with us assuming it turns out halfway passable!

Our search for land continues. Ever enticing, often disappointing, always with many fingers crossed, we’ve yet to find that little patch of the planet that ticks the – not too many to be fair – boxes that need to be ticked. Hovering between necessary conditions and realistic compromise, we’re all too aware that time is passing and that it’s now been almost three years since we packed all of our belongings into a van and headed off into woods. We’d like to think we can keep this up for ever, but I guess deep down we know there’ll come a point where, if we’re unable to find land upon which to build a home, we’ll have to change our plans and aim for something different. We’ve still some way to go before we hit that point, however, and truth be told, we’re blessed with what we already have. A fact of which we sometimes, nonetheless, must remind ourselves!

Blessed too in having made new friends and discovered new relationships along the way. We’ve loved answering you’re questions and working with you so that you’ve been able to plant your very own apple and pear trees; whether one for the garden, a larger scale orchard, or in remembrance of loved ones. We’re still available to help with any enquiries you may have if you wish to contact us, and we look forward to reopening the store in July when we’ll hopefully see some of you again, along with many new friends in the making.

Cofion cynnes,

Nicky & Gareth x

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