Market Study reveals ‘growing’ potential of orchards for economic boost
To revitalise the Clyde Valley orchards, a commercial value has to be found for its fruit through added value products.
A market study, funded as part of the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership, investigated the marketing opportunities for potential added value products for the Clyde Valley Orchard Group, including a Clyde Valley Orchard brand. The study found that there is currently a low amount of fruit available for commercial use and only a handful of orchards are managed on commercial basis, with more owners selling at farmers markets, farm-door, giving it away or leaving it to rot.
However, potential product collaborators expressed a real interest in developing juice, cider and preserves using local fruit, specifying the amounts and quality of fruit required for their needs. Future sales are likely to be boosted by increasing consumer interest in where their food comes from and how it is produced and the great passion for the heritage of Clyde Valley fruit growing. Although market conditions are good, it will take several years and co-operation between owners before the current investment in planting new orchards ‘bears fruit’.
Product development also takes experimentation, learning and relationship development but as production and sales grow, the study predicts that more orchard owners will want a piece of the action and they will plant new orchards, bringing the blossom and a sustainable future back to the valleys.