We are sometimes offered windfall apples or pears, which is fine if they haven’t been heavily bruised when falling. We would much rather come and view your tree and help you pick it or pick it ourselves then we can be assured the quality of the fruit for our juice, jam and chutney making.
We can of course accept windfalls if they are in tip top condition! Please comment here, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any fruit to offer us!
It seems as if this year so far there has been a bumper crop of blackberries and plums, as well as some early apples. I picked my blackberries from Gunnersbury Park and was fortunate enough to be asked to pick some wonderful plums from an allotment, but where did you pick yours from and what interesting things have you made so far? Fill out the poll below and tell us!
We have nearly come to the end of our apple picking for this season, however we still have a lot of pears to pick! We are picking once again at Northfields allotments this Saturday 3rd October at 10.30am. If you are interested in coming along please arrive by 10.30am sharp at the entrance gates by the bus stop on Northfields Avenue. We will supply all the equipment just come suitably dressed for picking on a muddy allotment! If you are unfamiliar with Northfields Allotments they are run by ‘Pathways’ so this is the signage you will see and they are surrounded by green metal fencing along part of Mattock Lane at the Lido Junction end and down Northfields Avenue.
The pear trees are easy to get to so will suit small children as the allotment is also secure. Some lifting is involved, and of course the picking of pears from the tree!
We have some early apples to pick from our trees at Northfields allotments, so if you have any free time over this weekend why not drop me a line and let me know your availability. It doesn’t matter if you only have an hour, there’s still a lot of picking that can be done in this amount of time! Email Diane at email@example.com
We have now had two successful clear up days in the Orchard at Walmer Gardens, West Ealing, but there is still more work to be done! We are still cutting the brambles, nettles, Ivy etc. and would love some more help to do this . If you are free then come along to Walmer Gardens with your garden gloves, secateurs and/or loppers. Clearing is quite hard work and only suitable for children over the age of 12. Please contact Diane Gill on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07736857700 for further information, otherwise we will see you there on the day!
If you can’t help with clearing, but have a car and would be willing to take garden rubbish to the dump please contact me or turn up at the Orchard on the day.
We are also looking for more expert volunteers, so if you know a bit about apples/pears and could help with picks later in the year please email me on the address above.
Many thanks and hope to see you there where Elizabeth and David will greet you.
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.
You might think we can’t grow apricots in this country but we can. The type of apricot tree on our allotment was developed in Canada so can take a bit of cold weather. Most years our tree gets hit by a late frost and the crop is badly damaged but not this year. We have had our best crop in 10 years and one of the products we’ve made is apricot butter. The ‘butter’ just describes the consistency of what is basically concentrated fruit boiled down until it sets. Fruit butters spread whilst fruit cheeses need cutting. But whether butter or cheese, they go fantastically well with cheese and this year we have made a batch of apricot butter. I can vouch for its deliciousness! We’ve just delivered our first 6 jars of apricot butter to Cheddar Deli in Northfield Ave so if you want to give yourself a real treat do drop in and buy a jar and tell us what you think of it.