Co-op markets juice from Sir Isaac Newton's tree

Juice from the apple varieties that inspired Sir Isaac Newton to discover gravity feature in a new heritage drink available in selected Co-operative food stores.

Newton, who was born on 4 January 1643, is said to have been inspired to discover gravity when he watched an apple falling from a tree in the garden of his home at Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham in Lincolnshire.

Now, 1,000 varieties of rare and endangered British apples, including Isaac Newton's Tree, which originated from the apple tree in the garden of Newton's home, are included in a new drink — Co-operative Farms' Truly Irresistible Tillington 1,000 pressed apple juice.

Many of the 1,000 varieties were threatened with extinction until Co-operative Farms bought one of three identical collections 18 months ago, growing and harvesting the apples on its fruit farm at Tillington, Herefordshire.

Co-operative Farms purchased the rare apples from the Brogdale Horticultural Trust in Kent, whose National Fruit Collection was being transferred to the University of Reading. The trust decided to sell the 1,000 rare apples in three identical collections to help ensure their survival.

The others were bought by the Prince of Wales and a private Scottish collector, but the Co-operative's collection is the only one being put to commercial use — around 10,000 one-litre bottles of the drink are available in its stores.

The apple juice includes many varieties dating as far back as pre-Victorian times. Most were originally dessert apples, which eventually fell out of favour and became less fashionable than modern commercial varieties.

Among the other rare varieties included in the heritage apple juice range are Great Expectations, Fairie Queen, Northern Spy, Forty Shilling, Duck's Bill and Bloody Ploughman.

Co-operative Farms managing director Christine Tacon said: "These apples offer a real taste of British history and many of them, like 'Isaac Newton's Tree', have stories behind them.

"The apples were in danger of disappearing forever, so to be able to turn them into a delicious and unique drink is very exciting."

The juice will join the Co-operative's "Grown by Us" range — food and drink either grown by Co-operative Farms or made using ingredients grown by the business.

 

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