Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Apple Day


It's Apple Day today, Common Ground's nationwide celebration of all things pomme. And to help my festivities (picking the last fruit in the garden before those pesky squirrels nick the lot), I've just received my favourite catalogue of the season. I discovered Adam's Apples three years ago after becoming interested in heritage apple varieties. The result was this internet discovery: lots of choice (over 100 varieties), far cheaper than most suppliers, who was doing a special offer on 10 trees suitable for cordons. E-mail and telephone conversations ensued where I described the soil, aspect and climate of my plot and some of the trees I'd like to have - Ashmead's Kernel, Falstaff and Egremont Russet were on my list. Adam then suggested some further varieties (e.g. Discovery to replace Beauty of Bath) and I ended up with a selection of 5. By then I was so confident of Adam's expertise, I left the choice of the other 5 to him. My 10 trees are a combination of old and new varieties:

  • Ashmead's Kernel
  • Court of Wick
  • Discovery
  • Egremont Russet
  • Falstaff
  • James Grieve
  • Kidds Orange Red
  • Princesse
  • Spartan
  • Sunset

The trees were healthy and very well packed on arrival. This year's been the first good cropping on the plot, as expected. The apples so far (since September) are truly scrumptious and some varieties will store well into the new year. As this is one of our indispensible weekly food items, that's very good news for our pockets.

Every year I receive my new catalogue and fantasise about a further selection of cooking, dessert and cider varieties for my dream orchard. Slack Ma Girdle, Hoary Morning and Sops in Wine are on my list alongside Roundway Magnum Bonum - an old Wiltshire variety that hails from just 10 miles away. I'm determined to squeeze in a few more somewhere, but I'll probably need to start or get involved with a community orchard to realise my true apple ambitions. In the meantime I'm also perusing the catalogue for other fruity delights for next year's plot, such as blackcurrants, kiwi fruit and possibly a more unusual variety of rhubarb.

Which apples or other fruit would you have in your dream garden or orchard?

12 comments:

  1. Egremont Russet, my favourite apple made all the more special because it was my Christmas stocking apple and because it was seasonal. Seasonal eating really makes you appreciate the food you have. As the sayings go, familiarity breeds contempt and absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    Isn't this time of year fun when the new catalogues come out. Time for planning and dreaming.

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  2. I eat an apple most days. I have no particular favourites but they must crisp and juicy.
    My father always peeled his, in one long curling strip, using his trusty pocket knife.
    I'd have a pear tree or two. Those in my parent's garden were Conference and Williams. xx

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  3. Dnd - Christmas memories are exactly the reason why I had to have the Egremont Russet in my selection!

    Flighty - I have 2 Concorde (Conference x Comice cross) pears on the plot too. Unfortunatley the badgers got quite a few of them this year.

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  4. I don't have any plans to put in any more fruit trees, but a peach tree sounds tempting. I have only two apple trees, but they have produced more than I can handle this year! We have had apple crisp and apple cake; I've made batches of applesauce as well as sliced apples for the freezer. And Friday I made apple butter. I think I'm appled out:)

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  5. Rose - yum! We're still making Windfall Cake here...

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  6. I'm a big fan of russets too. Does your catalogue have any D'Arcy Spice? It's an Essex apple, russet type. Delicious.

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  7. Have answered my own question by enlarging the picture. There it was. And some other beauties. Ta.

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  8. I love apple picking! A friend and I went a few weeks ago! Oddly, I'm not wild about raw apples, but I love Granny Smiths in a nice apple crisp.
    ~ Monica

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  9. In my dream garden I would have lots of plums because I love them when they are soft, and their blossom is beautiful :)

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  10. Colleen - D'Arcy Spice has been in every single catalogue. Adam shows the origin of each variety - I seem to remember there's some more in there which hail from your neck of the woods.

    Garden Faerie - hello! I need to investigate what an apple crisp is...

    Helena - I have plums too. Absolutely scrummy :)

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  11. I tasted Bascombe Mystery this year at Wisley and it's a lovely sharp green one, like what a granny smith ought to taste like if it a) didn't have skin like a crocodile and b) was a bit sweeter

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  12. Mmmm, Emmat - that sounds like a better prospect than the Cornish Aromatic JAS and I have been discussing.

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