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Apple Day 2008


Apple Day is a way of celebrating and demonstrating that variety and richness matter to a locality and that it is possible to affect change in your place.

Jester, Falstaff, Crispin, Egre-mont Russett, Idared, Jonagold, Suffolk Pink, Luthers Pipin, Bloody Ploughman, Leathercoat Russett, Goldon Keob, Flower of Kent, Rev Wilkes, Ashmead Kernal, Spartan, Arthur Turner, Blenehim Orange, Lanes Prince Albert, Dr Harvey, Kidds Orange Red, Fiesta

The early news from Dan Neuteboom that the apple crop, although not diminished by this years unseasonal lack of sun like the pear and plum, was nevertheless retarded by a cold spring: he warned there were fewer varieties available for apple day - the most popular last year, Winter Wonder, was not ready for another 4 weeks.

So this year - the third year we celebrate Apple Day - we turned to concentrate on preserved apple in the form of juices - commercially produced, not rustically squeezed. Being a community run village shop, we invited our CUSTOMERS RIGHTS to DETERMINE, and asked them to choose which juice they preferred so which we should stock.

We also decided to WALK.

Apple Day is a celebration of the WEALTH and RICHNESS and DIVERSITY of our locality. If all of life is in an apple, so an apple came into life today. Some naked wood Apples (craftily cut out of the discarded remnants from my caravan walls by carpenter David) announced the event at the entrance and exit of Metfield. Kingsly, manfully, knocked them into the ground. 'Leave them naked as they are' said Gill, 'Existential works!'

Some stunning posters evolved however: Linda's based on last years rustic apple coloured images and Bridget designed some jaunty Apples Walking.

Apple day morning began with Pru leading the faithful congregation from the Church which was, once again, tastefully decorated by Margaret Puddy. Those few rounds of fruit powerfully scented the huge nave.

Tessa (braving a cold wind outside)
welcomed all those arriving, offering APPLES to taste from Wakelyns Agroforestry Apple System (2 miles away), Eddie Krutysza's apple orchard (500 yards away) and Dan Neuteboons Braisworth Orchards. With no Winter Wonder and St Edmund Pipin, the most popular this year was the Spartan, Suffolk Pink and Kentish Pippin (no doubt prejudiced by an unusual invasion of 20 strangers to Metfield from the land of Kent, up to celebrate a birthday).

Linda and Jo, operating from the Village Kitchen, provided warming coffee and tasty toast with Apple Jelly made by Chris Harvey (delivered from her sick bed).

Janet was steadfast at the Till all morning taking a record £600 - the Shop was full, with known and strange faces, generously purchasing Norfolk Dapple, Suffolk Gold, and general provisions from our village shop, supporting our economy.

Apple Tarts, Toffee Apples, Apple Crumble, backed fresh that morning by Village Kitchen's Lorraine and Julie, layered the shop counter in the morning - all gone by end of day.

Our two Dutch inhabitants to Metfield, Jely and Tina, each baked their own family recipe Apple Pie, both different, so traditional, and naturally deliciously moist and moreish.

INSIDE Metfield Stores
Apple JUICES were offered to sample:

Dan Neuteboon, (Braisworth Eye) provided his single variety no nonsense bottles of Winter Wonder, Bramely etc from his apple orchards outside Eye. Dan treds the middle way, growing for Waitrose as well as hands on attending farmers markets every weekend where he meets us all directly, talks and sells his apples, juices.

Aspalls (Stowmarket) Juice combines apples from Kent and Cambridgeshire, the base is Cox and Bramley, supplemented with Discovery, Egremont Russett. Generously they gifted us a case of juice for Apple day. - Copella. Popular amongst some Metfielders, is keenly priced and nicely cloudy. The name comes from the first letters of Cox's Orange Pipin (COP) and the last part of Devora Peake's youngest daughter's name

CarmELLA. Devora, of Russian parents, came to Suffolk in 1930's from Tel Aviv! - Suffolk Apple Juice. Jonathan's abundance of single variety juice, one for each day of the month. Very popular in the shop, and we are kept well stocked by his frequent local passing.

James White's (Ashbocking, near Ipswich). New to the shop, the juices, based on Bramley, Cox and Russett, are filtered to look more attractive. Their own ginger beer is sweatned with apple juice and not sugar. They also make Big Tom because Lawrance loves Bloody Marys!

Concentrate from Bookers – even more keenly priced and a good contrast in taste to other juices. Concentrate, I learned from Aspalls, is apple juice boiled until dry and then reconstituted with water.)

The vedict? Stick with what we've always had: Aspalls, Suffolk Apple Juice and Dan's, with Copella on special offer.

Apple ICECREAM. Miranda had an easy job of offering us pleasure, sampling AlderTree's aware winning fruit ice-creams, from Aldercar Farm, Needham Market. The apple ice-cream was unexpectedly delicious. The new Christmas ice-cream with the base of apple, would easily accompany apple crumble. Toffee Apple was the most popular.

Apple TRUFFLES - from Just Truffles, Alburgh. Delicate and tasty Christmas gifts, handmade using Belgian chocolate. Luxury so accessible, wafting around the shop.

Apple BOOKS On Sale or Return, lay in a basket of cob nuts provided by Tessa. The Fruits of the Forest sold the most.

Apple CHUTNEY's were provided by the
industrious Chris Harvey and Mrs Symonds from Cratfield: Apple and Sage, Apple Jelly, Apple Chutney, you prefix it, it's appled.

Young GIRLS dressed up in Apple
Dresses and T Shirts.....

OUTSIDE Metfield Stores

Apple IDENTIFICATION by our local apple (and Rose and diversity) expert, Eddie Krutyzsa. Not one, but 12 apples were presented by one person for identification. He looked, bit, munched, smelt, and felt his way round our un-named but loved apples, and sold some apple trees to give us future fruit.

Finally Apple WALKING!

For those not able or wishing to walk, Kingsley, thoughtfully and spontaneously took it upon himself to provide the COMMUNITY BUS.






Led by the well apple fed Eddie, we walked around our village, a route walked a thousand times before, but this time given fresh vistas': taking a red berry from Linda and Mikes yew hedge,

Eddie merrily ate it, shocking us all. 'But it's poisonous!' we cried. 'Only the pip!' he laughed. 'I'm going to bag up these berries and sell them in Metfield Stores', quipped Linda, keen businesswoman.

Turning up Hunters Lane with its abundance of high hedge rows, multistory homes for native animals, insects, birds, Eddie took us to 'high suffolk' with views across the valley to Mendham, where we turned left onto a footpath sided by a healthy hazel hedge, the path itself well trod by the wheels of Ann's buggy - for this is her short cut from her home to Metfield Stores, and her home is our destination. Through a Poplar forest, across a bridge, we arrived at Wakelyns Agroforestry Farm.

Martin was there to meet us: 'I usually ask our visitors, do they want half an hour, 4 hour or a days introduction to the work we do here', he jokes with us. The wind is cold, but the attention of our group is even sharper. We did not know such a secret garden of diversity and fruitfulness existed on our door step. It is unlike any farm we know. Wheat is planted in strips, mixed trees divide them. Fast growing alders and slow growing oaks mix happily together. Planted on a North South axis to minimise stress and maximise sunlight. I learn words and phrases which make sense: Carbon Sequestration. Insects love it. The balance is there. Integrate not segregate.

The philosophy of 'do little' is found to benefit. I learn Taxonomy (the practice and science of classification. The Taxonomy of an Apple, Martin explains, is dominated by the number five - five sepals, five petals, and the underneath of a ......... are five distinct ridges.