National Apple Day in Gloucester

October 25, 2009 at 7:51 am 11 comments

Apple Day_folk museum signI had Saturday all planned out: a morning at the allotment and an afternoon at the National Apple Day event at Gloucester Folk Museum.  The rain put paid to my plot plans so I wandered down to the Folk Museum in the morning instead.  I’m so glad I did and hung about for several hours sampling the delights of tree ripened locally grown apples and talking to people with a great passion and knowledge about all things apple.Apple Day_Peter and wassail bowlPeople like Peter, a teetotal vintage cider maker dressed as the Butler of the Wassail, who was intriguing passers-by into the museum to see the horse driven cider press.  The Wassail (a form of salutation ‘Wes hal‘ meaning ‘Be thou whole‘ in old English) takes place in January and gives thanks to the apple tree for it’s harvest and blesses the coming year.  Wassailers share a toast from the Wassail bowl, add pieces of toast to the branches of the tree and speak this response to the toast sung by the Butler:

”Old apple tree we wassail thee,
And hope that thou will bear.
Hat fulls, cap fulls, 3 bushel bag fulls
And a little heap under the stairs.”
*

Apple Day_horse drawn cider pressCheckers is a 23 year old half Shire horse (tell tale signs in the knees apparently) who, with the gentlest of nudges from his handler Faye, provided a demonstration of the vintage cider press in action when I got my camera out.  Video footage of Checkers to follow when I’ve edited it for web streaming as well as other digital snippets from the day including: a chat with Martin the apple man about why we should give gas stored fruit the boot and buy from local orchards or farmers markets.MOSAIC_Martin the apple mana demonstration of a 3-in-1 Victorian apple peeler/corer/slicer Apple Day_Victorian apple peeler copyand local folk band Way Out West’s ace cover of Jarvis Cocker’s ‘Common People‘ (recognise the accordion player?). Apple Day_WOW singing copyI left long after lunchtime with a camera full of stories and a bag crammed with apples and leaflets (and minus the rumbling tummy thanks to generous sized apple slices from Martin the apple man while I made up my mind which variety to buy).  As well as lots of fruit filled fun I learnt a thing or too about the humble apple, have a guide to making my own vintage cider and a greater awareness of local orchards in my area.  The Gloucestershire Orchard Group had about 30 different varieties of apple on display and if you think that’s impressive you can view the definitive guide to over 100 native Gloucestershire apples and plums on their website (a labour of love created by Charles Martell of Stinking Bishop Cheese fame and 337 pages long!). Apple day_variety greenMOSAIC_Glos apple varieties

* from ‘Everything you need to know about a Wassail‘  booklet produced by CROW, the Campaign for the Revival of Wassailing.

Entry filed under: away from the plot, great people, home life. Tags: , .

feeding the soil with green manure making damson jam

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ann  |  October 27, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Looks like a grand day out!!! I love these sort of things. Your pictures are very good and really tell the story of the day.

    Reply
  • 2. Nip it in the bud  |  October 28, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    thank you Ann, it was fab. Just need to sort the video out now…

    Reply
  • 3. Little Birdie Secrets  |  December 12, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Wow! Looks like this was a fantastic day outing. We are jealous. Thanks for sharing. What a lovely blog you have.

    Reply
  • 4. Shabs  |  August 22, 2010 at 4:19 am

    hi,
    i was in search of some plum variety that i picked the other day and reached here…loved reading and goin thru pics….i was also wondering what that ‘sloe’ was….thank u…

    Reply
  • 5. Nip it in the bud  |  August 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Shabs
    A sloe is the berry from a blackthorn tree (hence the need for gloves when picking them). They’re too tart to eat raw but are popular soaked in alcohol and then strained. My sloe gin didn’t work out so well. I didn’t prick them first as freezing the berries is supposed to burst the skins when they defrost but that didn’t happen. Keep looking at it on the shelf and thinking ‘must do something about that …’

    Reply
  • 6. John Hathaway  |  March 25, 2011 at 1:15 am

    I loved the Victorian apple peeler. They’re in everyday use here in Bolivia in 2011 for peeling oranges or grapefruit for making freshly squeezed juices on juice barrows on the street. A cup and half for a whole 25p!

    Reply
  • 7. Robyn Guyton  |  April 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Hi i am in Southern NZ and have a few hundred apples brought over by the early settlers in the 19th Century to identify. Have good ID photos and full lists of characteristics. Have you anyone who can identify if any are from your area?

    Thanks

    Robyn guy10@actrix.co.nz

    Reply
  • 8. nic@nipitinthebud  |  April 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Hi Robyn
    The Gloucestershire Orchard Group would be your best bet.
    http://www.gloucestershireorchardgroup.org.uk/
    best wishes, Nic

    Reply
  • 9. Claire  |  October 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Was given the crow booklet today at Burley cider festival. I had a brilliant time and took part in a wassail there. I loved it and hope there are revived!

    Reply
    • 10. Nip it in the bud  |  October 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      that was a rare treat then Claire, apart from the on-street performance by this fine fellow I’ve never again heard of or seen a Wassail.
      thanks for stopping by

      Reply
  • 11. five ways with … a ton of apples | Nip it in the bud  |  October 17, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    […] apple and carrot chutney The Folk Museum in Gloucester will be hosting their fabulous National Apple Day on Saturday 19th October from 10am – 4pm. Perhaps we’ll see you […]

    Reply

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