A SOMERSET farmer has been crowned apple grower of the year - for the second time. 

James Pullen, from Perrins Hill Farm in Yeovil, won the Thatchers Cider award, which was presented at the annual wassail ceremony. 

The annual Thatchers wassail was held at The Railway Inn, Sandford, on January 10 2024.

Mr Pullen has been growing apples for Thatchers for the last 13 years. He has 75 acres of orchard, which is under contract with the Somerset cider maker. 

“It’s a delight to work with Thatchers and to know that the apples we grow at Perrins Hill Farm are pressed into such outstanding ciders," he said.

"Growing apples is a long term commitment, and one that needs dedication all year round, caring for the trees and ensuring a perfect harvest.

“Thatchers puts an exceptionally strong emphasis on quality and this is an ethos we’re delighted to share.”

James produces high quality fruit, from the Katy apples leaving his orchards in September to varieties such as Debinett later in the season. 

Head cider maker at Thatchers, Richard Johnson, added: “It’s an achievement to be proud of producing such high quality apples throughout the entire growing season. James’ knowledge of growing apples for cider making is second to none.

“He runs a successful farming business and as a supplier to us we can be assured of a high quality crop, that we press within 24 hours of it being harvested to perfection.

“This is a fantastic performance year on year, and we’re delighted to award James with our Apple Grower of the Year trophy. He is an important part of our apple growing community.”

The Apple Grower of the Year award goes to the grower that Thatcher's believes has gone 'above and beyond'. James was previously awarded the trophy in 2019.