Ledbury Food Group’s eagerly awaited photographic exhibition “A Fruit Farming Year: Nature and Nurture”, featuring photos by local photographer Pat Strauss, will be on display from 26 May – 9 June in the Panelled Room of the Master’s House.
Ledbury Food Group arranged for Pat to visited the family-run modern commercial orchards of Castle Fruit Farm throughout one farming year. Expecting perhaps a simple cycle of planting, growing and picking, we discover instead a myriad of diverse but interconnected activities. In winter, when the countryside appears dormant, we see workers juggling the weather to plant and protect young trees, alongside bird netting and counting, and putting up nesting boxes. Migrating birds are orchard “workers” too, clearing pests and cleaning up unharvested fruit.
The exhibition illustrates an interwoven community of family, workers both human and animal, and an orchard environment of hedgerow management, wildflowers and bug habitats.
Our favourites of Pat’s photos are on display. A wider selection of her photos can be viewed on the exhibition slideshow, accompanied by a recording of Chrissy Bentley reading excerpts from her blog giving a deeper insight into working life at Castle Fruit Farm. For example, why does fruit go unharvested? What are the economic pressures that cause fruit to be wasted and what can be done about it?
This is a free exhibition. It will be open during library opening hours.
To hear The Story Behind the Photos, father and son Michael and Richie Bentley will give a talk at a special evening viewing on Monday 4 June from 7.30-9.00pm. This is a ticketed event. Tickets, £5 to include a glass of Castle Fruit Farm apple juice are on sale at Ledbury Library.
Castle Fruit Farm is situated between Dymock and Newent and is owned and managed by Michael, Chrissy and Richie Bentley. For their effort in balancing modern commercial production techniques with a positive approach to encouraging wildlife, in 2017 the Bentleys won the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group’s Gloucestershire Silver Pintail Award which is given in recognition of long term commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainable farming practice.