The Kirkby Fruit Project (KFP) was formed In 2012, by the Kirkbymoorside Environment Group (KMEG), to pick and use surplus apples from the local area. The project is run entirely by volunteers with profits generated from sales of the pasteurised juice going into local community groups. The juice is on sale in Kirkbymoorside at the Summit Bakery and Kirkby News. Also, we take a stall at the Christmas market and sell our home-made gift boxes of juice and preserves (cordials, chutneys and jellies made using other surplus fruits). These boxes have been extremely popular with both buyers and recipients by all accounts.
With more volunteers we are beginning to widen our activities, notably, the community juicing days. A chance for locals to bring their own apples, help with the juicing, and take it home unpasteurised, perhaps to make cider.
In 2015 we branched out (sorry, unintentional pun) into offering pruning and grafting courses, and we are researching the fruit heritage of Kirkbymoorside. We are hoping to compile an oral history with the help of volunteers to interview local people who remember, or know stories of, the commercial fruit trade in and around Kirkbymoorside. The Kirkby History group have helped identify old orchard sites and we have started collecting cuttings and grafting ‘daughter’ trees to help save the old varieties, with the intention of creating a living fruit record in and around communal areas in Kirkby.