Apple Days

Apple Days 14th & 15th September 2006. These weekends were booked in close succession to save storing away all the equipment. Without doubt it topped the Green Man fayre. Not just because the first day was smaller and more contained, but there was a greater diversity of people; from the old to the young, a good mix of male and female, and a wide range of talents. With two storytellers amongst the pack there was a treat for both adult and child. The theme was, obviously, apples. Iris is getting a reputation for herself as being some kind of demon food baker. I think there was at least five apple cakes on the go, but others contributed also. This included rice pudding from Steve and Ada, Spanish style, and some great shortcrust sweet breads from the oven by virtue of Ken & co. And the kids indulged too, making all sorts of pizzas. This event didn’t really need an ice-breaker but I got the games going with an apple relay. Six on each side we basically had to transfer apples from neck to neck, if you can imagine it, before the last person ran around the site and through the willow arch. It was a close match, the blues winning 3-2. But the star attraction of the event goes to Ian who mechanically ran the press and apple cutting all day. For the first time we could not get through all the apples, but that was fine since it left me a huge bagfull for the following day. So, well done Ian and the rest, including Nicky and Amelia, for giving the kids some real life. We all enjoyed the hot ginger apple juice, and to cap of the day some nice bread. One last thanks to Amy and Malin for helping with the ceremonial tree planting. The first cider apple and perry pear went in for the new planting of the orchard. And that brings me to the next day, at Woodlands Farm on Shooters Hill, where a rather larger crowd gathered. There was ample opportunity here to view a working farm, the biggest in London, in which my services and the press were required. But additionally too, I gave a workshop on tree grafting, looking at medlars and hawthorn, all part of the apple family, and I also sold six varieties of apples that I had grafted earlier this year. I took the opportunity to join in a little with the tree planting and see quite an extensive selection of all fruit trees. And to carry on the theme there was also a Victorian press, operated by a generator, that showed the efficiency of some of their inventions. With a foldable conveyor belt it could be transported on the back of a truck or carted around, as it used to be moving from farm to farm. One would then set it up within the orchard, and within 2 months – hey presto – the farm workers had their own source. So what else did the other vendors put on? Well, there was lots of food again, but also some competitions like apple tasting and ‘Who could peel the longest peel’. Apparently the winner’s was at 37” long.