West Ealing Abundance

The Abundance Wing of WEN. For further information click on About Abundance

About Abundance July 9, 2015

So far in 2015…

We had another good elderflower pick, but we had to get in quick as the season was so short and the weather variable.  We also found a new picking location which had smaller trees so the elderflowers were a lot easier to get to.  We made around the same amount of cordial this year at 170 bottles.  These are currently for sale at Cheddar Deli, Northfields Avenue.  In February our Orchard had another professional prune and in June through to September we are having monthly clear ups there to get rid of the ivy, nettles and brambles as well as keeping the grass cut.  We are engaging locals to Walmer Gardens to help us out and at our first clear up a few of these turned up to help – this was lovely! We decided against Hanwell Carnival this year for two reasons – stock was very low and we hadn’t even picked the elderflowers, plus takings have decreased over the years not really making it worth our while. Further updates as the year progresses!

What WEN Abundance did in 2014

2014 was generally a poor year for fruit. We had few requests to pick in neighbours back gardens with most of the apples for our juice coming from an allotment holder who is part of WEN Abundance. Elderflowers were good so we managed to make and sell around 175 bottles.  We strengthened our relationship with local trader Cheddar Deli on Northfields Avenue where we sell our apple juice, cordial and chutneys.  We also supply to Ealing’s Edible Box scheme too. The West Ealing Soundbite Festival took place so we had a stall there and we scaled back on other carnivals and events – mainly due to lack of stock.  We had a professional in to prune the Orchard at Walmer Gardens and whilst the trees are improving we were really disappointed to find out that the parakeets stole all our apples! We are hoping the same doesn’t happen in 2015!

What WEN Abundance did in 2013

It was a better year than 2012 but still patchy. We picked a lot of elderflower in May and made and sold loads of cordial; we picked blackberries but they weren’t brilliant (remember all that rain?); we had a fair amount of apples (thanks all local tree donaters). We had some successful fairs (in spite of the rain) including one at The Fox just before Christmas (remember the cold!!). We found some new outlets for our produce. Thanks all lovely volunteers pickers and orchard clearers.

What WEN Abundance did in 2012

As you are all aware last year was very poor for fruit and we had very little opportunity to pick. We did have a pruning workshop at our Orchard in Walmer Gardens and held another one in February 2013. The trees have been neglected for so long it will be at least 2-3 more years before they are hopefully fully restored to their best.  The London Orchard Project have been instrumental in helping us with this initiative for which we are very grateful.

What WEN Abundance did in 2011

Support from The London Orchard Project and full Ealing Council sign off to take over Walmer Gardens Orchard and renovate.  We worked with Ealing Transition as they are also using the Orchard for their first beehive.  Work started in January 2012 to clear and run pruning workshops.We were much more accurate with our picking and measuring this year – overall we picked around 1.5 metric tonnes of fruit.

  • We managed to meet all requests to pick from private locations.
  • We were more organised and had more volunteers for jam/chutney making and have made more chutney this year ready for 2012 and the potential to sell to local independent retailers (who  already sold our juice)
  • We identified suitable kitchen facilities to run jam/chutney making workshops that we will fully utilise in 2012. We did run workshops in conjunction with Ealing Transition events that went well.
  • Increased the number of fairs/carnivals we attended.


I am Diane from West Ealing Neighbours a local residents group (www.westealingneighbours.org.uk).   Abundance was started in 2007 by WEN. The idea came from an apple tree in a friends of WENs garden.  The owner of the apple tree was unable to pick the fruit and as a result the apples were going to waste. We had heard of the Abundance initiative in Manchester and Sheffield and thought we could try something ourselves, albeit on a smaller scale. In our first year we picked the apples and gave them away to local residents. In 2008 we wanted to be slightly more ambitious and involve the local community in a project that saw huge quantities of unwanted fruit that would normally go to waste turned into products (in this case Jams and Chutneys)  These were also made by the local community and sold to the public via a craft fair held in one of the local churches that is very much focused on the local community. In 2009 we continued with our Jams and chutneys but also involved the local community in cookery masterclasses.

After expanding considerably in 2010, we secured funding from the local Ward Forum to purchase fruit pickers, storage bags, an apple press, pasteuriser and apple crusher, while Waitrose lent fruit crates for storage. The local press (website, radio and paper) has been very supportive and local word of mouth is positive, extensive and growing.  We were also part of a nationwide Abundance network than won the grassroots category of the Observer Ethical Awards.

2011 saw even more success, securing Walmer Gardens Orchard renovation project. This is a little known run down Orchard in W13 and we will be working with one of Ealing Council’s park ranger as well as The London Orchard Project on this 2-3 year project.  We also picked more fruit and accurately weighed it.  Due to the large quantities of fruit we pick we juiced most of it via commercial operations and sold the juice via stalls as well as local independent retailers.

2012 was the quietest year for us since the inception of Abundance.  Luckily we had enough produce to sell at our usual carnivals/fairs. 2013 was better than 2012, but weather still had a massive impact on the harvest. This followed through in 2014.

West Ealing Abundance works on a purely voluntary basis. Any monies made from the sale of jams and chutneys are ploughed back into the project.

Diane Gill

July 2015


16 Responses to “About Abundance”

  1. Corinne Says:

    Hi Diane

    Do you know of any groups starting up in SW London? I’ve just heard about this on the BBC website & it sounds great. Too late for this year – I gave mine away on Freecycle, but will keep it in mind for next year.



    • WEN Says:

      Hi Corinne many thanks for your interest, the main groups I know about are in Manchester and Sheffiled. We certainly have used Manchester as a great example of what we are trying to achieve here in West Ealing. There may be other groups in London but I have not heard of any. I will certainly post details here if I do in future.


  2. Rashmi Says:

    Hello Diane,

    Like Corinne, I’ve only just heard of the Abundance group on the guasrdian website (and then the BBc after a bit of searching). I think it’s a fantastic idea. I live in Brentford, not a million miles from West Ealing and was looking for crab apples in September/October time – without success! Living in a flat, it’s mainly hedgerows by the canal and by my mum in law’s place in Ham which were plundered.

    Do you have any tips on how you set up your group?




  3. WEN Says:

    Hi Rashmi as we are part of West Ealing Neighbours it was an idea from someone on the Committee that we have run with and are now expanding. We had heard of Manchester and Sheffiled Abundance as they have been going a while so took the lead from them (Their websites are very good) We have mainly concentrated on jam and chutney making and giving produce (mainly apples) away to local causes such as a local soup kitchen and residential care home as well as leaving boxes outside our houses. We are now planning to expand in 2010 with further ideas in conjunction with Ealing Transition Towns and have just started scoping this. What any group needs is a decent amount of volunteers with the will and energy to put a fair amount of work into the project. We will be on a big recruitment campaign for 2010 as there are simply not enough of us doing this at present. If you are interested in joining us then please let me know and I can talk through with you our plans.


  4. Rashmi Says:

    Hello Diane,

    I’d definitely be interested in joining you; if you don’t have my email address I’ll send a message addressed to you from the main site if that’s ok? I don’t want to leave my address on the site.

    Tonight we’re going to attempt our first bit of actual pickling/bottling – ketchup made from hawthorn haws!


  5. WEN Says:

    Hi Rashmi yes I can see your email address so will copy you in on the notes I made of a meeting we had last night to discuss what are plans are. We do have a small amount of money from Ealing Council (along with Ealing Transition Towns) so we were talking about this as well as lots of other ideas! Once you have read them email me and we can arrange to meet. You can also pop along to the Ealing Transition event on Saturday if you are free? I will not be there but David Highton, the Chair of WEN will and he is delivering a short talk on Abundance. We will also have our jam and chutney stall there selling the last of our produce!


  6. Tom Bonasera Says:

    hi Diane, Rashmi, et al. – This sounds very interesting. I would like to learn more and potentially get involved. -Tom (W5)


  7. Katie Bryson Says:

    I’m a food writer/blogger and keen jam/chutney maker and live in W13 and would very much like to get involved with the WEN Abundance group and indeed write about it!


    • WEN Says:

      Hi Katie

      Thanks for your post we are always keen to have new volunteers, particularily in the jam and chutney making area! I’ll email you with more details.


  8. An excerpt from the book I am writing about my Grandmother’s life…. 1898 – 1997:

    “1906 – The Orchard’s, another relative, lived in West Ealing, a new subdivision. The West Ealing railway station was opened in 1870’s as “Castle Hill and Ealing Dene”. I took the tube, visited my old History teacher, Phyllis Challoner, at Mount Park Road, and then went on to the Orchards at West Ealing.

    Maude Orchard was my father’s cousin. She was a portly and motherly person. Her daughter, Hazel was my age and we became good friends and remain so to this day. Fred Orchard was retired from the Burma Police on a good pension but was suffering from advanced cancer. …”

    If you know the “Orchard” family name or any history of that time, please email me! S.Bennett sbennett@triella.com


  9. […] the local council and other interested parties to plant an orchard. They are also involved with Abundance, a project that makes use of the vast quantity of fruit that goes unpicked in gardens across the […]


  10. Graham Gunn Says:

    Hello. I’ve been researching rose hips with the intention of making rose hip syrup like my grandmother used to make in the previous “war time” conditions (1940’s). Rose hips have 20 times the vitamin C content as oranges. I found that a particular variety of rose (Rogosa, Frau Dagmar Hastrop) is exceptionally productive, grows well in Ealing clay soil, and is very attractive to birds and bees. Although I originally was looking for something to plant in my own small garden, my colleagues at Ealing Transition suggest that Abundance may also be interested in working on a project to make this plant available in public spaces as well as gardens, allotments, around bee hives, etc.

    If anyone is interested to participate in such a project, or has expert knowledge about these plants, or who has any other comments/suggestions, please contact me.


  11. Kester Fielding Says:

    I have a pear tree – quince rather than eaters that is full of fruit right now. Not sure if this is of interest. I am Eric’s former neighbour on Sutherland Road. Any interest?


  12. Hi. Certitide, Everyone Active, Ealign MEncap and the 4th Perivale Scouts Group are hosting an Eco Street Festival along Stockdove Way in Perivale on Saturday 29th August between 12 and 4 where we will have market stalls, food, drinks, music and entertainment. Would you be interested in coming along to promote your organisation and also to sell your edlerflower cordial?


    • WEN Says:

      Hi Mike

      Your project sounds great but that weekend I am still on holiday so we won’t be able to have a stall. In addition we only have limited supplies of stock at present and most of the cordial is sold via Cheddar Deli on Northfields avenue. I do hope the event goes well.


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