Coming into the autumn, I suppose that we would mostly associate the humble apple with Somerset, especially with the wonderful drinks it can make and also eating them too! However it is interesting to look back on the origins of apples and how they came to the United Kingdom.
The apple tree originated in Central Asia and it's wild ancestor can still be found there today. Apples were found in Turkey and Kazakhstan and were reputed to have made their way to our country with the Romans. The Romans cultivated apple orchards throughout the occupied country and after the Norman conquests, new varieties of apple from France were introduced and new varieties cross-pollinated in the grounds of Monasteries.
There are now over 7500 apple varieties throughout the world and apple production exceeds 80 million tons annually. Whilst the UK only produces 5% of this volume, it is home to many interesting apple that are used for cooking, food production and making ciders and other beverages.
The Blackdown Hills Transition Group are helping to run a number of Apple Pressing Days in Buckland St Mary Village Hall car park (Sunday 9th October 1230-1630), Upottery Glebe Park Ex14 9RH (Sunday 16th October 1200-1700) and Stentwood Farm at Dunkeswell (29th & 30th October 1100-1700).
So if you have any apples or windfalls, why not bring them along to one of these venues and turn them into wonderful juice! It will also be a good opportunity to meet like-minded people who take an interest in looking after their environment, and also reaping the rich benefits of the wonderful Blackdown Hills.
We look forward to meeting you all!
Neil ArnoldBlackdown Hills Transition Group 01460 234693