Autumn Apple Picking – share in our autumn fruit harvest during your stay.
The Gallery Lodges are set in 7 acres of land and since Pete started his art studio about 12 years ago, he has been planting lots of trees, including orchard trees. We’ve been adding to the orchard over the years and currently we have 70 apples trees, 9 pears, plums and cherries.
Some of the trees have grown quickly and fruited for a good few years now whilst others have struggled a bit in the wetter corners of the meadows, or been caught by the spring frosts and winds, and are yet to bear fruit. We’re still learning and getting to know all the varieties, and how and when to eat them.
This year we’ve had a fantastic crop of apples. I’ve been a part time volunteer ranger with the National Trust for the past year and one of my newly learned skills is orchard tree pruning, so this last winter I was opening the crowns and shaping the trees up a bit. I like to think that has contributed to a great crop this year, but I think the warm spring sunshine, which got the pollinators buzzing, and then the hot summer weather is mostly to credit!
Every year the trees grow and of course our apple harvest grows bigger too! We’d love to share our apples with our guests and so you are welcome to go scrumping and fill yourself a fruit bowl or a bag to take home! Different apple trees are ripening from August to November, but late September and October are the best months.
Pete’s tip to picking nice ripe fruit, is to give the apples a gentle twist and if they come off easily they are more likely to be ripe. Another sign that the fruit is ready to eat, is finding fallen apples at the foot of the tree. We will be happy to point you in the right direction and show you which are sweet eaters and which are best for cooking.
The Gloster with it’s strikingly ruby red hue is looking very eye-catching right now, but could do with a little longer to fully ripen. We’ve got eaters like the King of the Pippins which gets a pretty orange hue as it ripens – it’s great fresh off the tree for an afternoon snack.
A rosy variety of Bramley cookers is ideal for making apple sauce and has a waxy skin that helps it to be stored. Plenty of others are great for pies and juicing too. (We are still waiting for our sweet pink cider apples to have a bumper crop, so we can give this a try).
After all the picking and storing is done, (I was cooking with stored apples into March last year), we can look forward to next year’s buds and beautiful, abundant spring blossoms. So if you can’t make it for the autumn apples how about visiting when the blossoms are out in April instead?