Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Thanks to a tip-off from a friend in the village, I've spent the last two evening picking dessert apples and pears in a nearby country house orchard. There are around four different varieties of apple, at least half of which are Russets of some description. There are also a few cooking apple trees bearing very large green apples (Lord Derby at a guess), but we won't be using these in the cider. The russets are a bonus since they are widely regarded as being excellent for cidermaking purposes. If I can keep a few specimens in good condition, I'll be taking examples of all the varieties to the forthcoming Brocks Hill Apple Day event (10th Oct) in the hope that the resident apple experts can identify them for me.

All in all we've got maybe a quarter of a ton of fruit to press. This will form the core of our 2011 Welland Valley Festival Special Cider, along with the fruit from various other trees dotted around the village which are a few weeks off ripening yet.

My pleasure at spending time in this lovely old orchard was seriously tempered by the knowledge that it almost certainly won't be there next year. Sadly there are plans to build on the land, and the orchard will be grubbed up in due course. Such a shame.

Here are a few photos I took this evening. Unfortunately the light wasn't very good, and the heavy rain created a few problems too, but hopefully you'll get an idea of what we'll soon be missing...

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