Celebrate the autumn apple harvest
It’s one of the crops we associate with autumn so celebrate the diversity of local varieties on Apple Day, held on October 21 each year.
The day was launched in 1990 by Common Ground, with the aim of creating a custom, and even an autumn holiday.
It’s a spotlight on the varieties we are in danger of losing, not simply the apples, but in the diversity of landscape, ecology and culture.
Activities take place across the country, notably by the Women’s Institute, the National Trust and Wildlife Trusts.
The first Apple Day took place in the old Apple Market in London’s Covent Garden, with 40 stalls showcasing fruit growers, nurseries, juice and cider-makers, writers and illustrators.
How to Celebrate Apple Day
- Seek out apple varieties native to your region.
- Check out events near you.
- Host an Apple Day event, encouraging people to try new recipes and types of apples.
- Try locally brewed ciders.
- Take part in the Apple Wassail, a traditional form of this ancient practice, where bread is laid on the roots of trees which are then doused with cider. It’s supposed to bless the trees and bring about good harvests.
To find out more about Apple Day, visit www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day/.
For National Trust apple day events, starting this weekend, visit here.
Helmsley Walled Garden in North Yorkshire is hosting an event, visit my Cool Gardens post here.
Lubera’s recommendations for Apple Day
Why not celebrate Apple Day by planting your own tree? Here are some recommendations from Swiss fruit experts Lubera’s Bionda range.
Apple Bionda Marilyn: Medium-sized, round to slightly flat, a beautiful yellow colour when ripe, never gets russets (which is very common in yellow varieties).
Texture: Extremely juicy, fine-celled and very firm.
Flavour: Sweeter than Golden Delicious, has a distinct pear aroma when fully ripe.
Growth: Good branching, resistant to scab, little mildew.
Harvest: Matures in early September, but can also be left on the tree until mid-September, obtains a distinct pear flavour, shelf life until Christmas, from £19.90 for a 1-year tree in a 5-litre pot.
Apple Bionda Patrizia: Medium-large, beautifully high built, with deeper and wider calyx.
Texture: Firm, fine-celled and crisp, juicy.
Flavour: Even after storage, there is still lots of flavour in the spring – lots of sugar and acidity.
Growth: Medium-strong habit. Very productive, resistant to scab.
Harvest: Mid-October, directly from the tree, should be stored 1-3 months before being eaten, from £17.40 for a 1-year tree in a 5-litre pot.
Apple Bionda Bella: Round, slightly tall, the “greenest” Bionda variety.
Taste: The successor of Golden Delicious – the storability of Patrizia (until February/March) and the best texture; the flavour is balanced in autumn (sweet with good acidity, then it gets sweeter).
Growth: Compact, very well-branched; resistant to scab; no russeting.
Harvest: Mid-late September, from £19.90 for a 1-year tree in a 5-litre pot.