In spring, they give blossom, in summer they give shade and in autumn they give their delicious fruits. But what goes on in an orchard in winter?
Aside from wassailing, a tradition of blessing the apple trees on twelfth night to promote a good harvest, you might think ‘not much’. In fact, keeping apple trees healthy and fruitful takes more than offering a tree bread and cider once a year.
Not many of us have actual orchards to tend, but a great many gardens have apple and pear trees. If not, you might be considering purchasing a tree for their fruits, and the early food they offer pollinators. Looking after your apple tree is best done in winter when the tree suffers less stress. This includes planting out new trees and pruning to ensure they stay strong.
You now have a chance to learn how to do this, for free. Charlton Orchards, one of the longest-standing producers on Taunton Farmers Market, are offering Winter at the Orchard day on 6th February. This is an opportunity to visit their orchards in Creech St Michael and find out exactly what fruit growers do in the winter. Aside from drinking cider, of course.
The event opens at 10 am and goes on till 5 pm. During the day there will be pruning demonstrations and lots of advice about how to keep your tree in tip-top shape. Light refreshments will be available and there will be juice and apple tasting, as well as lots of the same to buy.
Charlton Orchards specialise in traditional apple varieties and have been in business since 1947 – so they know a thing or two about apples. Their fruits pack a flavour punch you won’t find on a supermarket shelf and you get the satisfaction of taking a walk through their orchards to see the trees they’re actually grown on.
As well as tasting and buying their fruits, there will be a selection of fruit plants and young trees on sale for you to plant in your garden. How great would it be to have your own supply of these wonderful apples to pluck from your trees every autumn?
There’s no admission charge, all you have to do is bring your wellies and come along on 6th February.