Apples in Merchiston

fooling around with the apple tickler

fooling around with the apple tickler

We were out again on Friday, this time picking apples in Merchiston.  This was our first opportunity to use our brand new 5m long extendible apple tickler, which was both practically useful and a lot of fun.  We also invested in some harvest bags which are very useful for keeping both hands free while you are climbing a tree.

Identifying Scottish apples

I’ve used the photos I took at the Holyrood Apple day to make an identification chart which you can find here.  As most of these apples were grown in Scotland, this might prove a useful resource for identifying some of the apples we pick in gardens in Edinburgh.  Still, it’s easier said than done…

Abundance at Holyrood

c

A selection of Scottish apple varieties

Today was the Holyrood apple day, organised by John Hancox of the commonwealth orchard.  The event was intended as a celebration of Scotland’s apples, and the role that community projects have to play in build a ‘fruitful scotland’.

The event was supported by MSPs from all 4 parties, and It was a lot of fun to meet and greet other folk working on similar projects.  But the best part was the opportunity to see (and taste!) the diversity of Scottish apples.  John, with the help of John Butterworth laid out a display of Scottish apple varieties which was gobsmacking.

f

Seeing these rare varieties which have been kept going for hundreds of years is an inspiration, and might well prove a good help in our attempts to identify our apples.  I return home with a positive ID for our Bramleys, russets, James Grieves, and Discoverys, but we still have many more to identify.  Perhaps we might use these photos to make a chart…

Apples and Pears in the Grange

f

We had another afternoon of picking today, this time harvesting an amazing variety of apples and pears on Lauder rd. The garden had clearly been planted with some care as there was many different varieties of apples and pears, and an espalier hedge. We managed to identify some of the fruit conference pears, russet and bramley apples, but the others are still a mystery to us.

s

Our hosts at the Keil centre treated us to tea and helped us to pick the fruit that was ready to fall. After picking the fruit was sorted and put into storage, and there were still enough apples left over for all the volunteers to try some of the different varieties. We hope to have our hands on a fruit press soon, so in the future we’ll be able to make juice on the spot for everyone taking part.

The evening news article

Evening news article

For those of you who didn’t see it, i’ve attached a copy of the evening news article on our project.  An online version of the article is here

We’ll be going fruit picking again tonight, so if you’re in the South Edinburgh area and would like to come along please get in touch using the email address at the bottom of the page.  See you later!

Abundance in the evening news

Olly practises his apple juggling skills

Olly practises his apple juggling skills

We’ve been contacted recently by the Edinburgh evening news, who plan to run a short story about our abundance project in Thursdays paper.  If you’ve seen the article and found our website – brilliant.

To summarise, abundance edinburgh is about collecting surplus fruit grown in the city and putting it to good use.  There are many fruit trees in Edinburgh, growing wild or in people’s gardens, yet most years a good deal of this produce goes in the bin.  We plan to harvest this abundant food and redistribute it to local charities as a way of highlighting the social and health benefits of eating local, seasonal, and organic food.  Harvesting the fruit is also a LOT of fun 😀

harvesting apples in morningside

harvesting apples in morningside

The project this year is mostly being undertaken through an initiative of the Transition Edinburgh South food group.  This year we are focusing on harvesting fruit grown in South Edinburgh, but the project has been so much fun, and already been so successful that we are planning to expand the project to other areas in Edinburgh next year.

So if you have fruit you’d like to see picked and put to good use (we always give owners first choice of the fruit we pick for them) then please get in contact and let us know where you are.  Alternatively, if you’d like to take part in the project, either as a fruit picker, a tree climber, a fruit mule, or even a jam and chutney expert, we’d love to hear from you.  This year our efforts are primarily focused in South Edinburgh, but if you live in another area then do still let us know you’re interested.  You can reach us by email using the address at the bottom of the page.

wild-growing apples in midlothian

wild-growing apples in midlothian

During this years harvest we’ll be running a few events to give out fruit, freshly pressed juice, and preserves, along with our regular cooking and preserving workshops.  If you’d like to come along to any of these events then drop us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

Apple picking in Morningside

Olly and Grace catching falling apples

Olly and Grace catch the falling apples

This Tuesday was our first day out picking apples in Edinburgh this year.  Usually it is the cooking apples that ripen earliest, and so these apples were collected for making pies and preserves.  We had a great time with the tree owner knocking apples out of the tree whilst Olly and Grace tried to catch them in their blanket.  Fortunately for us their aim was pretty good and so we filled one rucksack from just half the fruit on the tree.

Apples are our most important crop of the year – they crop well, store well, and are always popular.  We’re looking forward to collecting plenty more this year, particularly the sweeter eating apples that are still to come.