We’ve just delivered our first batch of apples to Chiltern Ridge for pressing. This first batch will be more dry than sweet as its main apple is a Bramley – the standard English cooking apple. We’ve mixed in some James Grieve, Discovery and Katy to give it a slightly sweeter edge, so we’re keen to have a taste and see how it’s turned out. The juice will be on sale at the West Ealing SoundBite Festival on Saturday 13th September.
Indian ring-necked parakeets – possible culprits!
When we last visited the community orchard there looked to be a decent apple crop. When we went back to start picking we wondered where all the apples had gone? Gone to the parakeets is where they’d gone. The owner of April Cottage next door to the orchard told us that he has seen parakeets eating the apples this year. They sit right at the top and work their way down. All part of living with nature I guess. Still, we hope to find enough apples from other trees to send at least one batch off for pressing in to apple juice
After a couple of poor years for our apples, we have been able to start giving away surplus fruit again. We’ll be putting the fruit in Abundance boxes on fences and walls about the streets of West Ealing. We started off this week with just one box and some lovely dark-skinned,green-fleshed plums from a Hanwell allotment and have followed up with Discovery apples from our allotment. I love the anticipation of the first apples of the year and Discovery is one of my favourites. It’s delicately perfumed and when fully ripe has hints of pink flesh to match the skin colour. It’s a real treat to eat and even better when picked straight from the tree. You can’t get any fresher.
You really need to leave chutneys to mature for a few months, so we’ve been busy making the first of this year’s batches ready for Christmas. We’ve used James Grieve off our allotment as the basic apple this year which should give the chutneys a nice texture. James Grieve is slighly unusual as it is a cooker to start with and becomes an eating apple as it ripens. It hold its shape quite well whereas many other cooking apples can turn to fluff. We should be able to sell these chutneys from Novemnber onwards so watch this space for news of Christmas fairs where we’ll be selling our produce.