A Custard Apple tree plantation

Local wedding florist, Corky and Prince, have launched their social responsibility project with an Indian based group, Chaithanya. The Kempsford-based business and FLBC ‘New Business of the Year 2020’ winner, have funded the creation of a Custard Apple tree plantation on a remote hillside in Chittoor District, in the province of Andhra Pradesh.

“We’d had this in our minds for a while and we were keen to get it started,” says Fi Passey. “Saravan Kumar, our contact at Chaithanya in India, is responsible for pulling the work together and, between us, we aim to kick-start self-sustaining projects for the local villages and a Custard Apple tree plantation was perfect.”

Drawing on his local knowledge, Saravan chose the perfect spot. It may look barren now but, when the trees become established, they will improve the micro-climate. “Two hundred and fifty saplings were planted between monsoon rains this autumn” says Fi “and they will be tended by the villagers with advice from Saravan. The first harvest will be in 2023 and will be a cash crop for the villagers. We’re delighted with the social and environmental benefits of this project.”

Fi and Alan set up Corky and Prince to be as eco-friendly as possible and, in doing so, to give something back to the rural communities supported by Chaithanya. “Meeting Saravan was one of life’s great chance encounters. But that’s another story. We’ve been able to support Chaithanya on several projects since 2008. This is the first under the Corky and Prince banner.”

For now, Corky and Prince are treading water like many others businesses and looking forward with fingers crossed to Chelsea Flower Show with the Fairford Flower Collective next year. “Beyond that” says Fi “we plan to support Chaithanya and visit the project to pluck an apple from the tree in 2023.”