Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Apple days in the orchard

Although Apple Day is officially on 21 October, we have already celebrated our Apple Days twice this year.  Apple Day was launched in 1990 by Common Ground, a charity based in Bridport, intended to be a celebration of the richness and diversity of apples in our culture, and a recognition of the contribution of orchards to local distinctiveness and the unique ecology they support.

In September the community farm took part in the Heritage Open Days, taking place over a week in Dorchester.  We had two open days, one on the Wednesday morning and the other all day on the Saturday.  And lots of people came to visit!  We love the way we show people the same things each time, but each conversation is so different, with nuggets of interesting information, sometimes inspiring ideas, often personal experiences.

On the Saturday, we pressed our apples for juice.  We had spent the previous week picking apples, so were well ahead of the game.  We snapped into action, with someone washing apples, several chopping them, a couple macerating the chopped apples, and some filling and turning our two apple presses, squeezing out the precious liquid.  As always, the reward of all this effort is the golden apple juice which pours from the press, and which everyone had the opportunity to taste.  ‘Sunshine in a cup!’ exclaimed one delighted visitor.

We had so many apples in the orchard that we decided to hold another apple pressing, a few weekends later.  Well practised with the procedure, we were soon producing lots more apple juice, everyone getting involved on one or other of the tasks.  The weather for both days was gorgeous – bright balmy autumn days, the low sun turning the fading leaves tawny.  We were in t-shirts and shorts, stretching summer to its limits!

There are still hundreds and hundreds of apples lying in the orchard, but these will be consumed by birds and insects in the coming months, as well as our hens and geese, who love nothing more than gorging on a juicy apple.




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