Thursday 8th May 2008An Apple Adventure
With rising and increasing food prices internationally, a family of four including 2 ravishingly hungry growing girls, a menagerie of furry friends, 1 very average income (not increasing!), threatening interest rates on our mortgage... lets just say I'm very thankful for anything that comes our way that doesn't require a withdrawal from my wallet.
So while on one of our family walks, several (dare I say) months ago we discovered a gorgeously heavy laden Apple tree in a fence line of a neighbouring farm. The branches were sagging heavily, struggling with the weight of all the fruit.
This tree was chocker and hundreds of fallen apples littered the ground too. Some had been given the once over by local birds, but most were in perfect condition. On closer inspection I guessed the apples were Granny Smiths however they were covered in dust from the dry conditions we had had, so we would have to take them home, give them a wash and cut them open to be sure. We collected a couple each, one for each hand and headed home.
After giving them a good wash, we cut them open and yes, they were indeed Granny Smiths - crisp, tart and sharp, perfect for many of our favourite different apple recipes and dishes.
We have a couple of Granny Smith trees in our own orchard at home too, however unfortunately they are still young and only yielding one or two small fruit each year. Also with the harsh winds they've been subjected to since we planted them, I'm not sure they've had the best start.
To get good yields from them, we'd possibly do better (and they definitely would do better) in the care of someone who knew what they were doing and offered more nurturing than I do. Don't get me wrong ... I adore fresh produce from gardens and orchards, yet unfortunately I'm.. well.. I could be regarded as a neglectful gardener. I'm happy to plant them, however embarrassingly it seems I soon loose interest and regrettably often leave my poor garden babies to fend for themselves through severe frosts, snow, drought and windy conditions. Needless to say they don't often thrive with this kind of neglect!
On returning on another walk we came to the conclusion that nobody other than the birds and perhaps a possum or two were enjoying these apples and it really was a great waste having them rotting on the ground. So upon our 3rd visit, we made sure we were equipped for carrying more than just a couple each home.
Obviously this Granny Smith tree is very well established and thriving no end. I wonder how old it is and how it came about? One thought I had is that it may be the result of a passenger throwing an apple core from a train when it ran past that way, many moons ago. Or perhaps there was a an old farm cottage on the site that has long gone. I'm thinking the latter is more likely as there seemed to also be Elder berries grafted on. I'm not sure, however I am rather thankful.
Loaded with a couple of baskets and a shopping bag or two, we filled them up very quickly and whilst the girls were happy carrying the empty baskets up to the tree, bringing them home filled with apples proved to be a different story. To be sure they were heavy and perhaps I hadn't thought through how I was going to lug home all the apples, but thankfully we managed somehow.
So what have we made with all these wonderful apples?
Fingers crossed I can share some recipes soon!
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