The best fruit is the most seasonal. Shop in farm shops and farmers markets in season for variety and quality. Seasonal is also cheapest – also try supermarket bargain bags of ‘seconds’ in the English apple season in the autumn.
Apple Day, set up by the inspirational charity Common Ground, has led to apple events and community orchards around the country where you can taste different apples and juices, press your own apples, buy apple trees that were developed for your area and learn about apples and orchards.
Visit Brogdale in Kent for a guided tour around the national collection of apples and other fruits.
The Apple Source Book by Sue Clifford and Angela King of Common Ground and The Book of Apples by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards are excellent books on apples and orchards. Ciderland by James Crowden profiles exceptional cider makers and tells the story of a beautiful drink.
Cider was once the English version of wine and is currently undergoing a revival. Look for bottle fermented ciders and pubs that have cider on draft. The national collection of cider is at the English Cider Centre. Try cider with spicy foods such as curries as well as British dishes such as sausage and mash and soups.
The apple’s peel contains many of the micronutrients and flavours in a good apple. Try eating two segments of the same apple, one peeled, one unpeeled and taste the difference.
Pesticide residues can be an issue with apples. Try to find those using integrated pest management or minimal spraying, and organic apples, are best of all. For more information go to the organic campaigners the Soil Association.
MY JOURNEY WENT…
From the origins of apples in the Heavenly Mountains of Tien Shan to…
…the beginnings of Bramleys, Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious to
…discussing commodity apples with a trader in New Covent Garden to
…experimenting with apple puddings to
…inner city orchards to
…the real cider revival to
…racehorses being given cider vinegar to