Fifty years ago Starkey’s started to grow strawberries and other soft fruit. Today we grow specialist apples and strawberries, blackberries and raspberries for major supermarkets.
The Starkey’s Bramley Apple trees are unique and have a very important heritage! The Original Bramley Tree in Southwell is a legend. Still alive and bearing fruit at over 200 years old, it grew miraculously out of a pip planted by Mary Anne Brailsford in 1809. The name of this mysterious fruit was adopted from Mr Matthew Bramley who later bought the garden and it was developed and marketed by Mr Henry Merryweather.
Since then, the Bramley has achieved cult status and world fame as a cooking apple. Southwell hosts an annual Bramley festival, there is a dedicated stained glass window in our Minster and a Bramley Heritage Trail to follow.
Sadly, the Original Bramley now has honey fungus and will soon pass on to the great orchard in the sky. There WILL be a memorial – we promise! However, in 1994, Sir John Starkey and his scientist pals at the University of Nottingham, took genetic material from the tree to preserve its DNA. In doing so, The Starkeys have protected her genetic inheritance for future generations by cloning her and planting a Centenary Orchard just up the road. These are the only commercial copies of the tree and are lovingly tended by hand.