FRUIT trees and orchards are set to be planted across the Capital to support the launch of Edinburgh’s first cider.
The tasty drink – named Morningcider in a pun on the well-heeled district – is a small batch of craft cider made entirely from apples, handpicked across the city.
Orchard expert and enthusiast John Hancox has dedicated the last decade to planting fruit trees in schools and community gardens, in order to promote urban orchards and to have enough fruit to create the product.
The drink will be tasted for the first time today by local people at The Cambra Beer and Cider Festival 2016 at the Corn Exchange.
But Mr Hancox, 49, who was formerly a journalist, is hopeful he will be able to distribute the cider in the city’s shops and off licences within the next few months.
He said: “I’m confident the cider will do well in Edinburgh. There has been a huge amount of interest in it and the fact it is made entirely from apples grown in and around the city makes it all the more special.”
Once the apples are picked from community gardens, schools and residential gardens, they are then donated before being driven down to a farmyard near Selkirk in the Borders – where they are pressed into cider.
In order to ensure there are enough apples to create the drink, Mr Hancox has said he will continue to plant orchard trees across the city, and is encouraging residents to get involved by donating their own apples.
Leith Links, the Royal Botanic Garden and Jupiter Artland are just three areas that are already sporting the trees.
He said: “The big vision is to see fruit trees planted in parks and gardens, across the city and indeed across Scotland – with the idea ultimately to create a Fruitful Scotland with fruit trees growing in every street.
“It’s great to pick and eat apples and plums off the trees, but people also enjoy pressing the fruit – and the fresh juice is delicious and preserving the apples in the form of cider.”
As well as making cider, Mr Hancox is hoping to keep up the supply of traditional Scottish Apple varieties. He is distributing East Lothian Pippin, White Melrose and Hawthorndean to gardeners and orchard enthusiasts across Scotland.
Mr Hancox said: “It was great fun picking the apples last autumn.
“This year we are hoping to expand the production and will have apple drop-off points which will be posted on the www.scottishciders.com website.
“This is where people can contribute apples that have grown in their own gardens or community spaces.”
Mr Hancox plans to plant more orchard trees across the country, including cities such as Glasgow and Dundee.