Diary UK Edit

Apple Day is October 21.

Apple Day is a seasonal manifestation of our cultural relationship with apples and orchards, and part of a wider campaign to conserve and plant traditional and commercial orchards - thus increasing the availability of locally grown fruit. Apple Day was initiated by Common Ground in 1990 in London’s Covent Garden and thereafter encouraged and promoted across the country. Common Ground hope that Apple Day will become one of our annual calendar customs.

Apple Day is now (2006) celebrated countrywide by local groups, Community Orchardists, the National Trust, English Heritage, Royal Horticulture Society, Borough Market, Brogdale Horticultural Trust, CAMRA, cider museums, fruit farms, nurseries, the Slow Food Movement, local authorities, horticultural colleges and Wildlife Trusts, allotment associations, schools, Farmers’ Markets. Events vary from small, intimate gatherings to those that attract thousands.

Apple Day events Edit

At an Apple Day event you might find:

  • A display of local varieties of apple, and varieties from across the country
  • An apple identification service
  • An Apple Doctor for advice on growing
  • Apple cookery demonstrations
  • Unusual varieties of apples to taste and buy
  • Orchard produce: cider, juice, apple cakes, pies, preserves
  • Bee keeping and orchard honey
  • Cider tasting
  • Apple juice pressing
  • Pruning and grafting demonstrations
  • Apple trees for sale and to order
  • Orchard mapping and displays
  • Orchard walks
  • Illustrated talks
  • Storytelling
  • William Tell archery
  • Apple bobbing
  • Apple shies
  • Pin the Maggot on the Apple
  • Apple prints
  • Apple creatures
  • Orchard painting and photography
  • Fruit wood carving and turning
  • Apple mummers plays
  • Cider songs
  • Longest Peel Competition

Identification Edit

Apple Day is the perfect time to discover and enjoy local varieties of apples, and to get garden apple trees identified by taking along the fruit to one of the many events with an expert on hand. In Britain we can grow the best apples in the world and over the years we have bred or chanced upon over 2,000 varieties.

Rediscovering lost varieties Edit

Apple Day has enabled the rediscovery of varieties thought to have become extinct. The Gypsy King apple, last recorded in the 19th century was rediscovered at Apple Day at Church Stretton in Shropshire in 2004, the White Quarantine turned up at Probus Gardens in Cornwall in 1991 and the Profit apple in Kingston Maurward, Dorset in 2001.

Orchard Decline Edit

Using agricultural censuses, English Nature have found that traditional and commercial orchards in England have declined in area by 57% since 1950, with an estimated 28,000ha of traditional orchards remaining. Because of their rarity, they are proposing that traditional orchards are added to the National Priority Habitat list as part of the recent review of Biodiversity Action Plans to be published in November 2006.

Traditional orchards are ecologically similar to wood pasture and parkland attracting hedgehogs, hares, badgers and many bird species such as woodpeckers, tree sparrows, fieldfares and redwings; serotine, noctule and long-eared bats; butterflies - such as the red admiral, marbled white and white-letter hairstreak; a host of insects, wild plants, lichens and fungi.

Apple Imports Edit

In 2004 we imported 72% of our apples, a 13% increase in 10 years (Defra Basic Horticultural Statistics 2005), putting our own growers out of business, incurring more food miles, pollution, CO2 emissions. When we lose an orchard we not only lose the fruit and particular local varieties, we also lose the intricacy of nature, the songs, the recipes, the cider, the juices, the festive gatherings, the hard, social work, the look of the landscape, the heritage of a working place, the wisdom gathered over the generations about pruning and grafting, soil and season, variety and use. We sever our links with the land. Apple Day is helping to put orchards back on the map.

Random facts Edit

Only one in three (34 per cent) of the apples we eat comes from the UK[1]. This is despite the UK being a prime environment for growing apples and boasting over 2,300 varieties.[2] In the last decade the UK has lost a third (31 per cent) of its apple orchard land; in the last 25 years more than half our apple orchards have disappeared (56 per cent).[3] Sources: 1. DEFRA, Basic Horticultural Statistics, 21 July 2010 2. Common Ground - Sue Clifford and Angela King with Philippa Davenport, The Apple Source Book, Hodder & Stoughton, 2007 3. See footnote one. 1999/2000 to 2009/2010 4,007 hectares (16 square miles) of apple orchard land was lost, 1984/1985 - 2009/2010 11,096 hectares (43 square miles) was lost. 4., 17 October 2010

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