Apple Day 2023

‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,’ the poet said.

Apple Day on 14 October 2023 wasn’t misty but there was certainly lots of fruit around. And a magnificent crop of visitors to the Centre: 364 adults and at least 82 children! It took 19 volunteers to put the day on and a good job they all did too.

George, a neighbour with a family apple farm in Hampshire, had displayed on tables scores of unusual apple varieties eg James Grieve, Beauty of Bath, Topaz, Ashmead’s Kernel, Lord Lambourne, Kingston Black and Opal. George, Malcolm, Patrick, Eoghan, Bob and Dave were the busy apple cutters.

Rachel and Christina from the Meadow Orchard Project sold medlars (fruit also known as ‘monkey’s bottoms’!) and winter lettuce plants. There was a honey harvest in aid of charity from Julie, a local beekeeper.

With so many visitors, both Julie’s honey and the bounty of Tilly’s homemade cakes ran out by 4.30pm. But I was pleased to hear that as a result Agata’s home made cakes at the cafe in the park received a rush of customers in late afternoon.

Then there were fruits of the imagination: Katie the Human Bee; Kay and Annalou’s stories in the Story Den; Kids’ crafting (how good they are at it!) instigated by Lynne and Roz, beeswax candle-making and UA Fanthorpe’s wonderful poem The Apple War. And Friends of the Earth told me they were delighted they got so many signatures for their campaign ‘Unite for Warmer Homes’.

‘Mellow’ fruitfulness? It might surprise you that what was ‘mellow’ to me was the loud but entirely acoustic sound during Apple Day of so many people talking! All those conversations, banter, discussions, questions, answers, laughs among neighbours, acquaintances, friends, children, in a common space not—for once—dominated by commerce.

Mary Hogan, HVCA Trustee and volunteer


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