October meant Harvesting and Apple Day celebrations at some of the orchards we are working with. On Saturday 22nd, we were at Downe Community Orchard in Bromley, which has around 75 Kentish apple trees. We did apple bobbing and juicing, hunted for orchard treasure and learned about this rich biodiverse site, told apple stories and ate home made apple pies. The locals had so much fun they went back the following Saturday to pick more apples to contribute to our juicing and cider enterprise!
The next day we were at the Rose Garden in Grim’s Dyke hotel in Harrow. Maya and Fraser brought their electric scratter and hydraulic juicer, Claudia told traditional children’s stories in the woods, and Stephanie led a tour of 100 year old Lady Gilbert orchard. There were also stalls with artisan honey and cakes, and local environmental groups including Harrow Nature Conservation Forum and Harrow in Leaf.
At Chinbrook Meadows Allotments in Lewisham we had a Halloween themed celebration on Sunday 30th with toffee apples and a wonderful bonfire. Jan had organised harvesting of their orchard in advance, but the Tydeman’s Late Orange was true to its name, so we picked that on the day, and together with the other old Kentish varieties, it produced a beautiful ruby juice.