News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for October, 2010

Grosvenor Staff Bake & Share for Charity

Members of the team at Grosvenor Garden Centre have marked National Baking Week (18th – 24th October) with a ‘bake and share’ sale to raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice, the garden centre’s adopted charity for 2010.


The sale offered goodies ranging from cupcakes to fruit loaf, roly poly to sausage rolls - all of which were sold for a nominal donation with a total of more than £140 raised through the week.  


The ‘bake and share’ sale is the latest in a series of fundraising activities undertaken by Grosvenor in support of Claire House this year and follows abseils, coastal walks and the approaching Snowdonia Marathon – all embarked on and supported by staff at Grosvenor.


“The enthusiasm for this week’s sale was unbelievable with more than 30 members of staff kindly donating their time and home baked cakes and savouries towards the cause.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves both baking and eating and it is certainly an initiative that we will continue to adopt again in the future for charity,” said Jenny Carr, Customer Services Supervisor and organiser of Grosvenor’s ‘bake and share’ sale.


“Every year we choose a charity to adopt for a 12 month period and I have been delighted to see so many members of the team here at Grosvenor embrace the worthwhile cause of Claire House.  The ‘bake and share’ sale has been particularly well received in the staff room!” said Iain Wylie, Managing Director.


“What a great idea!  We are always extremely grateful for any donation to Claire House but we have been overwhelmed with the response from staff at Grosvenor by their generosity and ideas to raise funds.  The need for the service we provide will unfortunately never go away and it is with much appreciation that their support just keeps growing!” said Laura Irving, Area Fundraiser, Claire House. 

Highly Successful Apple-icious Weekend at Grosvenor

Grosvenor’s Apple Weekend has been a great success as visitors embraced the British apple and joined Grosvenor, local villages and schools, Eaton Estate and The Chester Grosvenor and Spa to enjoy the entertaining and informative event.

A village Masterchef competition saw Christine Emerson from Aldford, Chris Talbot from Eccleston and Rachel Gunnery from Saighton compete against each other for the coveted title and a winner’s hamper.  The lucky winner was Christine from Aldford with her starter course of filo baskets with brie, caramelised apple and onion with apple crisps and roasted clove of garlic. 

Rachel from Saighton had the hard task of completing a complicated recipe within the allotted time slot of one hour with pork sausages in honey, mustard and apple with potatoes, leeks, broccoli, apples and walnuts topped with a cheese sauce and coated with breadcrumbs.  And finally, Chris from Eccleston completed the three course meal with two fruit pies – one made using Bramley apples and the second with the addition of fresh blackberries.   Simon Radley, Michelin starred Chef from The Chester Grosvenor and Spa judged the competition alongside Scott Whitelam, Café Manager at the garden centre.

“It was a very difficult decision as all courses were equally tasty but the delicious caramelised apples on Christine’s filo baskets were particularly inspired,” said Simon Radley.

Head Gardener of Eaton Estate, Les Armstrong, proved a popular draw to the garden centre as he offered advice on growing apple trees and was able to identify unknown varieties of apples already growing in local gardens.

“I have been completely taken aback by the number of visitors requesting my advice and it has been a joy to see a few varieties of apples that I have never seen before.  I will be researching any left unidentified and contacting everybody with my findings over the coming days,” said Les.

Visitors were invited to try their hand at apple pressing using a traditional press, and took part in a longest apple peel competition with the winning peel measuring an amazing 429cm!  The winner was delighted to win a £50 garden centre voucher.

And there were prizes for the younger visitor too with a ‘Find Annie Apple’ competition and any child who visited the garden centre in apple fancy dress received a Grosvenor chocolate bar.

With nature activities, storytelling and face painting taking place throughout the weekend together with music from Abbey Gate and Eccleston school choirs and the City of Chester band on Sunday, visitors were entertained as they sampled juicy apples and enjoyed tastings in the food department, pork burgers and sausages from the barbecue and a choice of apple desserts in the Cafe throughout the weekend.

“The weekend was a great success with a fantastic response from the local community and the villages of Aldford, Eccleston and Saighton receiving an overwhelming number of apples towards their village juice appeal.  In fact, each of the two crates provided for each village were already full by Saturday evening!” commented Iain Wylie, managing director.

“Our Apple Weekend has seen a great number of visitors to the garden centre this weekend which has helped to create a real sense of community spirit.  I am delighted that by continuing to work with the local community, Apple Weekend was even bigger and better than last year.  We are providing a source of information and advice for anyone wishing to grow their own apple trees and inspiration for producing delicious meals with their own homegrown apples too.  Growing your own fruit not only reduces food miles but the produce is fresher and tastier too,” Iain concluded.

Community Apple Weekend at Grosvenor

Grosvenor will be hosting a celebration of the great British apple next weekend, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October, between 11am and 3pm, held in conjunction with the local community of surrounding villages and Eaton Estate.


As part of its Growing Communities initiative, Grosvenor will be showcasing the versatility of this delicious fruit, as visitors can see apple press demonstrations and taste freshly squeezed juice, together with samples in the food department, an apple themed menu in the Café and pork burgers and sausages from the barbecue served with homemade apple sauce.  Les Armstrong, Head Gardener of Eaton Hall, will also be on hand to identify unknown apples grown from visitors’ gardens.


To keep everyone entertained, there will be children’s nature activities, storytelling, face painting and live music from the school choirs of the local villages and City of Chester band.  


With competitions for all ages to enjoy, visitors can try their hand at peeling the longest apple peel, hunt for Annie Apple and there will be a prize for everyone who visits Grosvenor dressed as a Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Red Devil, or any other apple variety - and there are plenty to choose from with more than 3000 varieties grown here in Great Britain!  


The village schools of Aldford, Eccleston and Saighton have also been learning about apples and each has produced an apple-themed display on view at the garden centre throughout the weekend. 


And everyone can help to raise funds for local villages by bringing along apples from their gardens to add to containers at the front of the centre, the contents of which will then be pressed into juice locally before being bottled to sell at village fetes and functions over the coming months to raise funds for community projects.  


“Our Apple Weekend last year proved immensely popular with everyone ready to embrace the versatile great British apple.  It is testament to the community spirit here in Chester that local schools and villages are supporting Apple Weekend and we hope to be able to raise even more funds for local villages and our own adopted charity for 2010, Claire House Children’s Hospice, who will be here throughout the weekend,” commented Iain Wylie, managing director.