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Good Food Guy

Warner's Taste Club Warner's Taste Club
Why we should all look forward to a bumper crop of apples, pears and plums this season...
Warner's Taste Club - Season of change
Warner's Taste Club - Season of change
Warner's Taste Club - Season of change

From a local produce point of view, autumn is one of our best times of the year. Sadly, though, we are usually all too busy worrying about the slow descent into winter to properly celebrate our autumn harvest, which leaves our fantastic fruit – the plums, apples and pears – rather impoverished in PR!

So, my thoughts are that we need to rave more about our autumn fruit. After all, we do strawberry season with such thunder and noise; well this year, it’s the turn of the apples.

Apple orchards have long been associated with traditional Gloucestershire countryside, yet many old orchards with full-sized trees have disappeared. Along with them, many varieties of heritage apple – some that are only found in our county – have also disappeared. Thankfully though, we have a handful of local producers who are always hugely excited about their autumn crops and are not afraid to tell us.

If you’ve ever visited Stroud Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning, you can’t miss the Day’s Cottage apple stall. For many years, David Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith have been passionately encouraging visitors to explore the delights of their home-grown English apples. They grow over 200 varieties of apple, some on trees that are over 100 years old. Not only is this good for biodiversity (including creating habitat for the endangered Noble Chafer beetle), it also saves some of our native apples from becoming extinct. Day’s Cottage apples are good from August through to February but you can still enjoy each individual flavour all year round in the single variety apple juices, ciders and perries.

In Winchcombe, Martin Harrell of Hayles Fruit Farm is quietly confident that, after the warm spring, this year’s autumn crops will be full of flavour. Martin grows 12 varieties of traditional apple, which, he says were originally bred for flavour, unlike supermarket apples which tend to be bred for shelf-life. For over ten years, he’s been using surplus crops to make single variety apple juice and ciders so you can enjoy your favourite apple every day of the year.

This year, why not celebrate and seek out our local autumn fruit; after all, you know the saying, an apple a day...

Pick of the crop

Days Cottage:

The Pitmaston Pineapple is a sweet little yellow apple with an unusual pineapple flavour. Or try the Ashmead’s Kernel, a russet apple bred in Gloucester in 1700 that’s full of flavour, crisp and juicy, and a great storer.

Buy from Stroud Farmers’ Market or direct from Day’s Cottage in Brookthorpe. dayscottage.co.uk

Hayles Fruit Farm:

One of the nicest apples is the first of the season, the Discovery. Don’t pick it too early – the flesh should be tinged with pink and the flavour intense. Follow that with a Spartan later in the season, with its deep red skin and crisp, sweet flesh. Buy from Hayles Farm Shop or order online at

haylesfruitfarm.co.uk

Hayles Fruit Farm shop prides itself on stocking a wide range of home grown and locally sourced goods. Open throughout the year there is always an array of seasonal fruit and veg. Add to this an eclectic selection of meat, cheese, preserves, oils, cakes, cordials - all supplied by local producers with the same ethos as the Harrell family - you’ll certainly find something to whet your appetite. Whilst you are there, why not visit the tea shop for a delicious cream tea or even fish and chips!

Hayles Fruit Farm, Winchcombe, Cheltenham, GL54 5PB

A full version of this article appears in the September issue of ‘Cotswold Life’.

50% off Discovery apples at Hayles Fruit Farm Shop

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Visit Hayles Fruit Farm Shop, give the cashier the voucher and receive 50% off Discovery apples. T’s and C’s apply.