This year was our best harvest since we planted our forest garden at Daisy Cottage in Tarbert. The backbone of the garden are the apple trees, ably supported by blackcurrants. The currants have povided many kilos of fruit year on year but the apples have been intermittent. Planted 12 years ago, they took a while to get going but are in a good sheltered location facing north. Normally this would be a problem but they are tucked in away from the north winds on small natural terraces and surrounded by trees. A ridge of hills protects them from the easterlies, whilst trees and higher ground shelter them from the westerlies.
This year we got about 100kgs of apples from 8 trees of differing varieties, all from the west side of Britain including a very productive cider variety from Devon callled “Tom Putt”. My wife Carina has defeated the bullfinches which – each March – threaten to rip off nearly all the fruiting buds. She has cleverly designed fleece pockets which adorn the fruiting branches like some interesting art installation.
That’s the numbers. They are insignificant next to the sheer pleasure of borrowing our community-owned hand apple press, making the most delicious apple juice imaginable and sharing it among friends.
Now I know what green economists mean when they talk about co-creating a bioregional economy. That it’s fun and convivial compared to our present one, which is designed to make us feel unsatisfied and alone. Thanks to those apples I am connected to this patch.