Autumn Orchard Festival
Author: Nick Lightfoot – Head gardener
Our Autumn Orchard Festival this year is on Saturday 15th October and so from early September we will begin to store the apples we harvest for this event, rather than sell them now or deliver them to the restaurant.
The apples that ripen through August are thin skinned and won’t keep long. Conversely there are some apples that, whilst we can pick them in October in time for our event, will not be perfectly ripe until afterwards. Apples therefore have a long season and with dwarfing rootstocks it is quite possible even in small gardens to have three or four varieties ripening at different times from midsummer through until winter. You therefore have a few happy weeks in the year when you realise you don’t have to reach for that bag of apples in the supermarket.
One of the commonest questions we are asked at Orchard Day is: ‘Which varieties of apple would you recommend’. The answer can be be made as easy or as complicated as one chooses.
We have over 40 varieties of apples at The Vyne and each year Chris Bird from Sparsholt College brings many more from the Sparsholt Orchard and so I have had the opportunity to taste many. Adam’s Pearmain is a personal favourite but there are plenty of others. There are over 2,000 in fact, that you can choose from and if one begins to consider rootstocks, pest and disease resistance, varieties with a local provenance or pollination groups the choice can be made a bewildering one.
Of course the most important factor is taste and this is where events such as Orchard Day come into their own, giving people the opportunity to try many varieties and choose their favourites.
For more info about our Autumn Orchard Festival visit our events page
Apple tree nurseries we have used at The Vyne: