A Starbucks drive-thru now stands, where a local boozer once stood with dark decor and carpets to disguise spilt ale and cigarette smoke. I am a simple woman who drinks my coffee black no sugar, zoning out while my daughter orders a drink with shots of this and pumps of that. I notice an apple tree in a nearby garden, its bough hanging over the fence laden with fruit. I had never noticed it before. Upon the concrete was a growing pile of bruised fruit turning bad, such a shame, I was tempted to return with a basket knock on and offer to strip the tree of its harvest, but my joints and muscles would never allow that.
So I was unsurprised to read, wheat may be in short supply this year but apples are a plenty. Long stretches of unbroken sunshine throughout spring coupled with lack of late frosts led to an extended blossom season, enabling pollinators such as honeybee and bumblebee to fertilise more flowers. A rainy July and August benefitted the growth cycle further, aiding the fruit to swell and become plump. Autumn in an apple orchard amplifies nature. The air is filled with an earthy blend of sweet and tart as fruit ripen upon laden boughs, amid the gentle decay of plants preparing for winter.
The National Trust manage more than 200 traditional apple orchards in the UK, reporting an early harvest the best in 3 years. Visitors will be invited to pick and take home apples, in exchange for a donation.
So as we wave goodbye to summer, let’s say a sweet hello to autumn.
- 225g/8oz cooking apples
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 15g/1/2oz butter
- 1tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp water
Peel, core and chop the apples. Bring to the boil in a pan with the lemon zest, sugar, water and cinnamon.
Take off the heat and beat in the butter. Leave to cool.