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Apple
Apple Day 2011

Big Apple
Another apple ramble from Metfield Stores - the Poem

apples

samples

It was another glorious October day (each year I wonder - will rain?). We’re joined this year by 12 poets, from a seed planted at last year’s Apple Day, when Tammy (Tamar Yoseloff) joined us as a stranger from the Aldeburgh Fringe Event publicity. She was a poet she said, and later that spring ran a workshop in Mendham, thanks to the organisation of Rochelle and Mendham-writers.com. It was the first unseasonably warm weekend, the beginning of the hot (later drought) days. Why don’t we all meet again, we said, at the end of the growing season, in the autumn to celebrate harvest? So here we are.

 

Our village shop was adorned with apples collected from Wakelyns, Holton Orchards and Dan Neuteboon, cyder from Aspalls, juice from Suffolk Apple Juice, Aspalls and Dan, pies and crumble from Village Kitchen, apple jelly from Chris Harvey (all empty jars welcome).

Kitty was enthusiastic on tastings, with 21 varieties of apples, their names written out in Bob’s clear handwriting.
Janet and John (!) served in the shop. Hot spiced apple juice from Gillian Wells prepared in my useful camper van welcomed the arriving walkers.

eddie

Eddie led the way through the loop of Metfield village, past hedgerows we all know so well, but maybe did not notice the wild pear. This year we cut in past his roadside table of the last of the cut roses, to a veritable exhibition of abundant autumn berries and fruits, labelled and all with stories.
Tammy Here Tammy read some words from Thoreau (from Civil Disobedience and Other Essays), reminding us of how different fruit (and all food) tastes in the fresh air.
big apple Walking on past the diverse and high hedges of Eddie’s land, we came briefly to an open prairie. On one side of our country road, a huge conventionally ploughed field (no weed in sight) and a mono cropped winter rape beginning its uniform growth for next year’s harvest on the other. No hedge or tree in sight, the view was huge, way across the Waveney valley, but the land was somehow devoid of occupation. It was a brief interlude, before we were once again amid nature’s architecture of a footpath hedged on both sides with hazelnuts.
waklyns Martin, Ann and a barrow of fruit, welcomed us to Wakelyns. And Kitty once again, cutting apples for us to taste (how did she materialise here so effectively?).
alley ‘For every one unit of food we expend 11 units of energy’, Martin began. Surely some mistake here in our manmade architecture of farming. ‘Isn’t Nature the elephant in the field’, asks Martin rhetorically.
It is indeed significantly warmer in our alley, as Martin calls them. Like a greenhouse, prompts a walker. The unconventional stretch of a field we’re all standing in is verdant green, stunningly backlit by the autumn sun, so healthy and lush as if content and laughing with us. A legume-based crop, Martin prompted, yellow trefoil and the like. It, like us, is protected on both the north and south axis by coppiced hazel. But not only is the crop protected by this natural barrier,
the hazel leaves fall naturally into the alley, providing useful mulch and goodness.
While underneath, roots of the hazel spread into the alley, and on these roots lives ‘mycrorise’ (?), a very important fungi, which helps to introduce nutrients, naturally, organically, to the growing crop.
‘Is it enough’, asks Martin rhetorically. Yes, he responds. After a 2-year cycle of legume, the crop yields just as efficiently as an artificially fertilised crop. Land Equivalent Ratio is 1.4. But there’s less expense, and much less manmade interference. Rain, sun and soil. That’s all that’s required.

Yes, rain, well we’ve had a dry year. Wind, of course, takes water from the crops, so the protection is useful from this point of view. Water is a balancing act.

One of the many measurements undertaken at Wakelyns is how different tree species affect the crops. The ash we can see inhibits the growth of the neighbouring legume, compared to the Italian alder, so why not take out ash and have only alder? NO! DIVERSITY is the key – one wet year the ash may be more beneficial than the alder.

Blight does not happily travel over the hedgerows and, after arriving with the predominant westerly wind, diminishes totally by the eastern alleys. ‘Just imagine an open field’, says Martin, ‘how easily the blight will spread’.

resting The coppicing of the hazel yields wood-chip for the burner, so Martin sits in his warm heated-by-woodchip house watching the price of oil soar through others roofs, and it’s not just sang-froid – the new technology had a high capital cost.

coeur

sally

We end at the exuberant and ancient Coeur de boeuf, laiden with arching boughs of Ox Heart coloured apples. The variety arrived from France shortly after the Norman invasion - 1200s or earlier? (do not mention the Rugby). It is a tough-skinned cooker that Sally bravely bit into – and her face said more than 12 poets’ words.
end Kingsley drove us back in the community bus, passing Martin’s fields of willow for his woodburner, to the community shop where waiting for us was warming tomato and apple soup and apple pies from Village Kitchen. We ate and digested all in the lengthening October sun, before the walkers dispersed, and the poets headed south to a far away place called London.

For those interested, here are links to the POETS:

Tamar Yoseloff, the poet who ran the workshop at Mendham Mill this weekend.

Mendam Writers, run by Rochelle, who organised the poetry workshop and is running workshops at the Cut (Halesworth) - one coming up at the end of October.

 

 

APPLE DAY at METFIELD STORES

Another Apple ramble from Metfield Stores,
to Wakelyns Agro-forestry on North South Axis
where hazel, alder, willow mix with apple Coeur de Boeuf
and intercropping tree with field, makes so much sense.

And once again a Fringe Event with Aldeburgh Food
Once more our shelves abundant in apple pie, juice
So bring your apple to identify with Eddie Kruyteza
Who’ll walk us round our village, eating an Elise

Or Suffolk Pink, Laxton Fortune, Cox or Queen Cox,
Bloody Ploughman, Blenhim Orange, or Flower of Kent,
Or Dr Harvey, James Grieve or Reverend Wilks

Or Clopton Red, Jonagold, or Hawthornden
Or Broad-eyed or St Alban’s Pippin, Egremont Russet,
Or Grenadier, or Falstaff, or Katy or Elise

Another chance for us to taste what’s given from our trees
Or fallen on a Newton head, to remind us gravity.

And this year, walking with us, they’ll be Poets
(some from London!)
Finding words to piece together, apple nuggets tum te tum e on
Thanks to Tamar and Rochelle, Mendam-writers dot com
We’ll see, eat and write, the Devonshire Quarrendon.