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Year's End 2023

Article: Year's End 2023

Year's End 2023

As another year draws to its close, here at Tyn y Berllan we’re reflecting both on how far we’ve come… and how far we’ve still to go. There’s been love, laughter, triumphs, and tragedies, all the while reminding us why we do what we do and why we wouldn’t have it any other way. Oh, but the journey!

Despite the mild and damp weather, the trees have flourished, and our first-year trading online has been an utter delight. It’s been a real privilege to correspond with so many fantastically keen growers – whether they’ve been experienced orchard aficionados or beginners to the field, and along with sharing our knowledge we’ve learned so much from our conversations with you all. We hope we’ve made each of customers feel heard and valued and that we’ve dealt with your queries and concerns in a timely and relevant manner. Please do let us know if there’s been anything you think could have been done better – we’re learning as we go, and we really do take notice of customer comments.

The website has undergone a revamp – we think it looks and feels great, and we’ve had some wonderful feedback on it. The most important factor for us has always been its usability, and as lovely as we think it looks, it’s important to us also that it ‘gets out of your way’ and makes the job of choosing and (hopefully!) purchasing our apple and pear trees straightforward. There’s still more to do – particularly in terms of the search filters for when you’re looking for varieties with specific characteristics – and we’ll work on them over the coming weeks so do keep us posted if there’s something you think would be useful or likewise something you think hampers the experience.

Oh, and social media? By all that is Zuckermusk, we promise to do better.

Land continues to allude us. To be fair, we’ve been so busy what with setting up the website and looking after the trees, we’ve not spent quite as much time looking as we might. Still, we’re hopefully the better organised for it, so plan to get out on the road and locate that dream property come hell or high water. High water being particularly relevant here in Pembs right now.

One thing that did threaten our peace of mind in 2023 was the wait for the dormant winter season to begin, so that we could start sending out our orders! We’d normally expect to start sending out trees in November, but the warm weather meant that many were still happily in leaf throughout the month. We were starting to wonder whether we’d get them sent out before Christmas, but finally they began to slumber, and we were able to get them all safely sent off. Thank you to all of you for your patience and understanding.

The delay in shipping out our trees also had the knock-on effect of deferring our cider-making adventure for the year. We’d already missed out on a load of Harry Masters Jersey apples – a fantastic tannic cider apple that can make a very good quality cider – but managed to substitute some Dabinett in its place.

We love Dabinett – wonderfully bittersweet and well-balanced – but it must be said in our experience it’s not always to everyone’s taste. Not sure why, you’d have to ask them, but as our friend and fellow apple and pear tree grower/cider maker Bill Bleasdale says of it: ‘it’s an esoteric little devil.’ Esoteric or not, we’ve now got several barrel loads of it fermenting away happily in our old whisky barrels, and whilst we aren’t able yet to sell any of it, if ever you’re passing by do feel free to call in for some ‘research and development’  And of course, if you’re interested in growing some Dabinett apple trees for yourself, do check out the store where we’ve some still for sale!

On that sweet, and somewhat astringent note, we’ll end with wishing you all our very best in closing out this old year and welcoming in the new. Thank you all for connecting, for your custom, for your comments, for – let’s face it – just being utterly magnificent. In these troubled times, when the darkness gathers in heaps for so many in our world, it’s fortifying to know you’re all out there, making the world a better place just for being in it.

‘We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.’

 Blwyddyn Newydd Dda pawb! Happy New Year to you all!

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