Bridport Times October 2019

Page 36

Wild Dorset

AN APPLE A DAY Ellen Simon, Tamarisk Farm


hen we first came here in 1960, my father planted trees into a windswept landscape. He planted them to protect the gardens from wind and salt spray. In the places which would in the future be sheltered he then put apple trees. As the years went by, they became productive and, for as long as I can remember, we have had as many apples as we can eat from the end of July through to at least February. My parents never planned these to be grown for sale. Their first interest when they started growing fruit and vegetables was making sure that they could feed their family on good fresh food. Before we were told to eat ‘five a day’ we knew ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ As each of the six children in the family in turn became old enough to eat apples, he or she routinely had one at bedtime. For much of the year, we ate several at other times of the day as well, either found beneath the trees or picked from them, or taken from store through 36 | Bridport Times | October 2019

the late autumn and winter. The sequence of apples we eat starts with a variety called Beauty of Bath. We used to go to Sidmouth Folk Week for a day at the very end of July and we always took a basket of them. They are now redolent of the pleasure of being on the Georgian sea-front listening to buskers. With climate change, they are coming earlier and this year I ate my first one quite early in June and was able to take a basketful to the Millennium Garden for our own Bridport Folk Festival. The next to ripen are Katy, bigger apples, more modern, fresh and crispy but without the subtle flavour, then Lady Sudely and soon the very best of the earlies, Ellison’s Orange, with its light texture, rich wine flavour and juice on your fingers. And so it goes on, through Pitmaston Pineapple to the start of the Russets. I feel like writing a list of the names and qualities of the apples we eat though the season. For each of the really familiar ones, I can tell its