One of our neighbours gave us this lovely box of Pears for a Christmas gift. Such a simple but beautiful thing, I was a little jealous I hadn’t thought of it first. The red blush on the fruit sets off the green packing nicely and gives it the perfect Christmassy feel.
Fruit is such a decadent thing that it’s the perfect Christmas present. When you think how long it takes to grow this many Pears (three years for a tree to come into fruition at least) and the care and attention that someone put in to produce such blemish-free fruit. They really are a treat and something to be celebrated, boxed up and given to friends and neighbours.
Once my fruit trees are producing enough I’m definitely doing this with my own fruit. I might even have a little photo on the lid that says ‘from the orchard of…’ Love it.
Now that I live in Portland I felt it was time to get to know my local Apples better. I know the names of British Apples quite well, Ashmead’s Kernel, Beauty of Bath, Blenheim Orange. They all have lovely traditional names. But when it comes to Apple varieties here in the Pacific Northwest I’m a beginner.
I’d love to turn part of my new garden into a mini-orchard. In reality that probably won’t materialise for about a year but that gives me plenty of time to research and prepare the ground for planting next Autumn. So when I saw that my local nursery was holding an Apple Tasting event I had to be there. For research purposes you undersand!
I’ve had most success with fruit when I’ve grown what has evolved locally. By that I mean that the variety has been perfected for my local climate and may have even originated there. When I lived in Bath, UK I grew an Apple variety called Queen Cox that was perfectly suited to the wet weather there. It blossomed and we dined on Apple Crumble all Autumn. So I’m planning to do the same here and grow what the local farms produce.
I sampled a lot of apples! To be honest by the end of it I couldn’t discern the sweet from the tart. But there were a couple of varieties that stood out for me and I’ll be trying to incorporate them into my orchard plan.
Ashmead’s Kernal – the old favourite reins. Good all rounder for eating, baking and keeping
Brock – sweet and tart and good for eating and baking
Buckeye Gala (red) – great tasting eating Apple
Cameo – Super sweet eating Apple
Cortland – Tart and great for baking
Elstar – for its taste and amazing colour, good for baking
Honey Crisp – Sweet eating Apple and a good keeper
King David – Sweet and tart and good for baking
McIntosh – sweet, good for eating, baking and keeping
Rubinette – Great for Apple sauce
Spitzenberg – Sweet and tart and can be used for drying
Swiss Gourmet – A sweet eating Apple
Starkinson – for its sweet tast and amazing bright red colour
20th Century – this had a really interesting almost flowery taste.