It’s Apple Day this Sunday, our annual celebration of the unique, unusual and varied apple harvest available from orchards across the UK. We’ll have tasting and juicing happening all day as well as games for the kids.
Apple Day was established by Common Ground in 1990 as a way to both celebrate the apple harvest as well as draw attention to the breadth of different varieties we are at risk of losing. Almost two-thirds of the apple orchards across the country disappeared between the 1950s and the turn of the millennium but the last few years have seen a surge in community orchards and a renewed interest in preserving the incredible range of flavour and character in the more than two thousand varieties grown on British soil.
This season’s harvest is promising a particularly good vintage, with reports of sizeable crops with high sugars coming from most of our suppliers. We’ll have over 20 varieties on offer from 7 different growers, ranging in colour, shape, texture, sweetness and flavour. From the weird and wonderful Pitmaston’s Pineapple and Limelight varieties to the sharper Laxton’s Superb and Ashmeade Kernal, to the full red blush of a Rubin or Red Devil, we promise we have something to satisfy every palette.
What’s more, growing apples organically means pest control and pollination are managed in ways that encourage biodiversity and respect the complete ecology of the landscape. Carey organics in Herefordshire, who we’ll have 10 varieties of apples from this week, increase pollination by bringing in hives of native species bumble bees. These bees fly at lower temperatures and lower light levels so are out pollinating more of the time. They keep Rosey apple aphids in the orchard at bay by introducing beneficial insects such as hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds. The grass around the trees is left unmown too, so there is plenty of habitat for all these insect species to thrive.
Happy Apple Day Everyone!