A couple of weeks ago I took the boys to the country park and paid a visit to the orchard. I have a bit of an obsession with orchards, especially when they're full of fruit. So many windfalls go to waste, it's a shame. I picked up a bagful of the not-too-bruised ones and took them home for crumbles. I wish the trees were labelled, but the varieties are probably long forgotten.
Down at the supermarket there are bags of delicious little English apples for sale very cheaply. They also buy apples from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Chile, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the USA, South Africa and Australia. AUSTRALIA. What sort of madness is this? Our orchards will all be ripped out if we don't support them. And replaced with goodness knows what. Wherever we are in the world, we should be eating local fruit where we can.
I've ranted on about Pink Ladies before, but maybe you'll forgive me if repeat what I said about them once before. Pink Lady is not an apple variety, it's a commercial brand owned by Apple and Pear Australia. UK farmers are not allowed to grow it, and yet our supermarkets are full of it. Each and every apple shipped here from far away, each and every apple pushing the market share away from our fantastic British orchards. The marketing behind Pink Lady is phenomenal. It has a logo, a slogan, a club and an all singing all dancing website with a blog and a whole section aimed at children. The apple itself, in its plastic wrapper, with its countless food miles, is available all year round. Don't buy it. Have a lovely British apple instead.
I really feel passionately about saving our remaining orchards and supporting our farmers. I love the sight of rows of fruit trees in spring, a mass of blossom and bees, and heavy with fruit in autumn, ready to fill our stores for winter. I hope you'll forgive me for banging on about it a bit, but orchards really are one of my favourite things.