October heralds a string of Apple Days which celebrate the heritage of English apples. There are over 2,000 kinds of apples growing in small orchards across the country and in 1990 this special day was created to draw attention to the increasing devastation of the orchards and loss of local varieties of apples. The message was to look after orchards, encourage the growth of indigenous apples and ask for them by name instead of settling for the tasteless offerings of supermarkets. The sentiments took root in the English soul and now Apple Days are widespread. Typically they include tasting a multitude of different kinds, identifying mystery apples from local trees, drinking apple cider, playing silly games like apple-bobbing and longest apple peel competitions and generally enjoying the brisk air.
Fenton House celebrated theirs on October 1 with over 800 people attending. This exquisite, historic garden in the heart of north London has an orchard dating back to 1756 where apples with names like Lord Lamborne and St. Edmund’s Pippin are grown. At the Primrose Hill market, there was a cooking demonstration on how to make apple crumble, with tastings afterwards and lots of cider all around. Borough Market, a farmer's market in east London went all out with a vast display of winning apples from the National Fruit Show (pictured). There were tastings of crumble made from Bramley apples, cider, wine, sampling of local apples, and wandering minstrels dressed in period costume ( it’s the market’s 250th anniversary). Also in season, English pears such as Comice and Conference, are delicious and varied in taste,
It’s also the time for cobnuts which are a kind of hazelnut. Grown in Kent, they too are being revived, with new orchards being planted. They are shelled and eaten raw, and have a very mild taste. All in all, a very english way of Thanksgiving. :: Common Ground