Here’s my contribution for the local Apple Festival! A brief illustrated tour of the apple fruiting cycle. I’m always keen to emphasise the role of the insect. Without the insect pollinators there would be fewer apples. The apple is a great fruit and the many historic and ancient varieties bear testimony to the significant (and often neglected) complex cultural heritage of the apple tree. The first recorded apple variety in England was the Pearmain, recorded in Norfolk in 1204. Over two thousand varieties exist now, some unique to geographic areas of England. The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale Horticultural Trust in Faversham has the most comprehensive authenticated collection of varieties in the world with almost 2,500 varieties and is well worth a visit. The apple has both a relationship to place and history through breeding. The sanitised varieties seen in the supermarkets bear little relationship, and have limited true aesthetic appeal or taste, to those traditional varieties seen in the domestic gardens and private orchards of rural England. Go and grow some apples! The trees are easily planted bare-rooted during winter or early spring. Specialist nurseries such as Brogdale sell traditional varieties by mail order. Local varieties as follows:
Apple varieties local for Worcestershire: Betty Geeson, Colwall Quoining, Dewdulip Seedling (Culinary), Dick’s Favourite (C), Edward VII (C), Gladstone, Green Purnell, Haughty’s Red, Hope Cottage Seedling, King Charles Pearmain, King Coffee, Lord Hindlip, Madresfield Court, May Queen, Pitmaston Russet Nonpareil, Queen Alexandra (C), Red Blenheim (Culinary and Dessert), Sandlin Duchess, Tupstones, William Crump and Worcester Pearmain.
Apple varieties local for Shropshire: Brooke’s, Downton Pippin, Moss’s Seedling and Yellow Ingestrie.
Apple varieties local for Herefordshire: Byford Wonder, Crimson Queening, Golden Harvey, Herefordshire Beefing (C), King’s Acre Bountiful (C), King’s Acre Pippin, Marston Scarlet Wonder (C), New German, Pig’s Nose Pippin, Pitmaston Pineapple, Red Newton Wonder (C), Stoke Edith Pippin, Ten Commandments, Tillington Court (CD) and Tyler’s Kernel.