Saturday, October 17, 2009

Comfort me with apples

All over the country, apple days are taking place. These were initiaited by Common Ground in 1990 to celebrate the diversity of apples and the range of local varieties. They are held all over the country at this time of year.
This one is at Reaseheath College all weekend (as advertised by Goodfood Shopper here). The perfume, when you walk into the greenhouses where it is being held, is amazing. Individually, an apple doesn't smell unpleasant but put lots and lots together and the aroma makes your mouth water.
There are lots of varieties to view and to taste, and experts, including Harry Delaney, on hand to identify varieties, and give advice on cultivation and on preventing diseases. There are tours of the fruit gardens. You can also taste and buy cheese made by the students at the College.

The most interesting part of the day is the opportunity to view so many different varieties, many of which have a long history. A wonderful website that I have just discovered fro apple varieties is Orange Pippin.

Greensleeves - been around since the 1960s but with an "unexceptional flavour"

Court of Wick is from Somerset (1790s).

The Bloody Ploughman is a Scottish variety from 1880

How could I not take a photo of Pig's Nose Pippin? It originated in Herefordshire in the 1880s and is very sweet
Another great name, this apple arose in the 1850s.

Who could resist an apple called King of Tomkin's County? It's an American variety from the early 1800s.

Catshead. The person who named this apple had obviously never seen a cat. Either that or cats have evolved rapidly since the 1600s in England, to prevent them being mistaken for apples and put in a sweet pastry case.

Arthur Turner is a variety from 1912, from Berkshire. I'm not sure who Arthur Turner was, but according to the RHS he's prone to mildew.

Talking of diseases (well in this case a deficiency), there are examples of common apple problems on view.

Not just apples - there's the opportunity to stock up on pumpkins before little darlings start knocking on your door at the end of the month.
Common Ground has a list of the Apple Days across the country - go and visit!


Anonymous said...

Funny, I never see any of these varieties in Tesco, shame.

Great pictures, and great names, particularly; 'Pig's Nose Pippin'.

VP said...

Slack Ma Girdle's my favourite name, swiftly followed by Hoary Morning ;)

I'm growing Court of Wick up at t'plot BTW :)

chaiselongue said...

I love the old English names - even if the apples don't look anything like pigs' noses, cats' heads or bloody ploughmen!

HappyMouffetard said...

Gentleman Admin - yes, shame - I'd rather buy a kilo of Pig's Nose Pippin than Pink Lady

VP - strangely, I heard them mention Slack Ma Girdle on PM on R4 earlier - not heard of it before, then twice in an hour.

Chaiselongue - they're great, aren't they?

Bill Pearson said...

Ashmead's Kernel and Orleans Reinette were some of the nicest apples to eat, visit my blog for a glimpse of Happy Mouffetard selling cheese!

Joanne said...

So many varieties it is good that people are keen to protect them.

Lucy Corrander said...

Something's gone wrong with my brain and I find myself succombing to weird excitement looking at these apples - especially in the long, three-tiered view; so much taste and history and colour.

I think the cat ones might be a bit like Syamese heads if cats were green. (They don't look the most appetising of the ones you have shown.)

Impressed by the caligraphy too.


Anna said...

Great names - would love to know the stories behind them. Are these varieties all grown at Reaseheath ? Off to an apple event later on today :)

James David said...

What an interesting collection of names and great variety of apples.
Wish I could taste them all.

Wendy said...

That would be great to see all the varieties in one place. I like the info on diseases too. What a helpful presentation!

easygardener said...

The names are so evocative. I'm glad someone keeps these old varieties alive.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Can't oblige you on the comforting with apples front (I ate them all) but will a nice bunch of grapes do? Or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or ..... Yep, we are very grape-y up here at the mo.

In The Netherlands we also treasure all the old varieties of fruit. It's good to see that there are still so many old apple varieties about in the UK. If only we could buy them in the shops!

Anonymous said...

Must-go-get-apples! The subliminal message embedded in your photos! Those varieties are all new to me here in TN, but it is definitely apple season, the markets are overflowing with them. How funny about the cat's head, you crack me up Happy! :-)

Shaheen said...

I wrote a small piece on my blog about seasonal apples, then I stumbled upon your blog by pure chance. As an amateur grower on my allotment plot, I have begun to appreciate the seasonity of fruit and vegetables. I am a Welsh person living in Scotland and am always learning new things about Scottish culture, including food. Recently in Scotland, initiatives have been set up to recognise the diversity of apples such as the Commonwealth Orchard. It was good to read about the Common Ground initiative that was set long before, I did not know that, so Thank you for sharing.

The English names of apples are certainly amusing, but I have learned some amusing Scottish ones too, such as Lass O Gowrie and Scotch Dumpling. I think the names of many of these apples are so poetic, a reason why we should not forget about heritage varieties.

Joanne said...

Hi I just popped back to say at last I have got round to doing the meme you tagged me for many weeks ago. I do hope you will pop by to have a look. I have linked back to your blog.