During the fruitful months of September and October, cidermakers become highly tuned to presence of orchard fruit. Whether it's keeping an experienced eye on their own orchards, or scanning hedgerows, gardens and fields for other peoples trees, cidermakers are always on the lookout for possibility of fruit going to waste.
When I spotted this beautiful old orchard adjacent to the Ram Jam Inn, I thought my luck was well and truly in. The Ram Jam Inn is an 18th century roadhouse located near the village of Stretton, just off the busy A1 in Rutland. It's more of an upmarket restaurant these days, but was once a hostelry of some renown. The unusual name derives (probably!) from '...a strange concoction brewed by the former Indian batman sergeant landlord' Charles Blake, which was bottled for the take-away trade.
The orchard is very neatly laid out in several straight rows, and apart from the overgrown and upright nature of the growth, nicely maintained. Unfortunately for me the trees appear to be all cooking apples, probably Bramleys, and of no use for our cidermaking. One man's disappointment is another's good fortune though. If you have a liking for apple pie, the Ram Jam Inn may well be the place to visit at this time of year.