10 ways to … celebrate the joy of apples in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 17:30 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:30 12 October 2017

The orchards at the Sandringham Estate. Picture: Ian Burt

The orchards at the Sandringham Estate. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Family friendly and fruitful apple facts and festivals

1 Did you know the earliest mention of a named apple variety in England is in a 13th century document from the Broadland parish of Runham, near Acle? A tenant farmer paid his rent with ‘200 pearmains, and four hogsheads of wine, made of pearmains.’

2 Apple Day is a big deal at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, near Dereham. This year’s event runs from 10am-5pm on Sunday, October 15 and includes apple-themed food, drink, entertainment, music, craft, cookery, stories, produce and even chainsaw carving.

Experts will be on hand to identify apples and visitors can join the Grand Apple Day Parade at 3.15pm.

3 Apple Day at Redgrave and Lopham Fen, near Diss, on Sunday, October 15 includes apple-themed games, crafts, food and walks, Morris dancing, and an autumn plant sale. Adults £3, children £2. 10.30am-3pm.

4 The longest apple peeling competition, apple and spoon races and an apple shy are part of Ely’s annual Apple Festival next Saturday, October 21. The festival, from 10am-4pm, also includes woodturning, storytelling, folk music and dancing, apple identification and apple themed food and drink.

5 Join Lord and Lady Apple for Apple Day in Holywells Park, Ipswich, on Saturday, October 21, 11am-2pm.

Meet in the orchard for appley activities and refreshments. Free entry.

6 Norwich Apple Day at Norwich Forum includes free family activities hosted by organisations including the RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the National Trust and Wild Days Conservation. Thursday, October 26, 10am at the Forum’s Explorium. The city has a long apple history and in 1662 was described as ‘either a city in an orchard, or an orchard in a city, so equal are houses and trees blended in it.’ Even the smallest households had a few fruit trees, while larger households enjoyed fruits from their own small orchards.

7 The East of England Apples and Orchards Project is based in Norfolk and works across seven counties in the east of England. It has surveyed and saved ancient orchards, rediscovered lost apple varieties, encouraged the planting of new orchards and made sure the skills to manage them are passed on. Its East of England Fruit Collection, at its headquarters near Fakenham, contains more than 270 varieties of apple, pear, plum and cherry whose origins lie in the region.

8 Seek out Suffolk apples – they include the St Edmund’s Russet, Lady Henniker, Lord

Stradbroke and Suffolk Superb.

9 Apples named after Norfolk places include the Lynn’s Pippin, New Costessey Seedling, Sandringham, and Hanworth Codlin. The Norfolk Biffin, first recorded in 1698, was used to make Biffin puddings. Bakers put trays of the apples, pressed down with other trays, in ovens where they baked slowly until they caramelised. They were then cored, peeled and eaten cold with cream and sugar. Norfolk Biffin are mentioned by Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol, Martin Chuzzlewit and Dombey and Son

10 Walk through orchards at North Burlingham, near Acle. Several miles of pathways cross the Burlingham estate, taking in old and new woodland and orchards as well as meadows. Ten new orchards, full of local varieties of fruit, have been created as part of the project.

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