I fully approve of this

Britain is enjoying a remarkable apple boom, as hundreds of new community orchards revive lost varieties and contribute to a thriving heritage market.

According to Steve Oram, who is the apple diversity officer at the wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species: “We are adding new orchards to the register all the time. Some are in allotments, others in schools and even housing developments.

“After the postwar years of neglect and destruction, when 90% of the UK’s orchards were lost and supermarkets sold only a few varieties and imported 70 to 80% of their apples, it is very exciting.”

The Newquay community orchard in Cornwall was started in 2015 with a £66,000 crowdfunding appeal. More than 2,000 trees, including 120 local heritage varieties, have been planted on land donated by the Duchy of Cornwall.

Wholly and fully – as long as they’re doing what it says on the tin.

If people want little orchards of native (well, you know) apples then people should have little orchards of native apples. As long as, of course, they’re creating and maintaining those little orchards of native apples at their own expense. This is, after all, what liberalism means, that the peeps get to do what the peeps want. And if we’re to add some Burkean conservatism so that it’s the little platoons sorting it out for themselves then all the better.

As long as no one is being forced to pay for this through taxation then what could possibly be the problem?

At another level this is climbing Maslow’s Pyramid again. At one level of income we’ll take fruit in the only way we can, seasonally and in a limited manner. We get richer, technology advances, we can have apples year round – but that does mean trade, commercially sized operations and the inevitable limited selection. We get richer again and now we’ve more than sufficiency, let’s have that variety back again.

After all, it’s not as if we’re not seeing this right across the food chain, is it?

That roast beef of Olde Englande was most certainly better than the bully beef from Argentina or the Fray Bentos pie. As is the best grass fed British beef of today. But we moved through the cycle to get from most not being able to eat any beef, to all being able to have bad beef, to now again thinking more about the quality – we have a more than sufficiency of beef and can be picky about it.

19 thoughts on “I fully approve of this”

  1. That is good news. Many varieties of English apples have distinctive taste but often lack keeping qualities (generally the later an apple crops the longer it keeps) and also their appearance may not be entirely uniform, so supermarkets tend to avoid them. The opportunities for people to try other varieties ought to be welcomed.

  2. And when control is handed to a centralised body, then you’re far more likelly to lose something for good. I always wonder what a Cumberland sausage would taste like with meat from a Cumberland pig.

  3. About beef: I saw a programme on the telly a decade or more ago. Apparently our beef herds went downhill because Min Ag insisted on cross-breeding with continental breeds that didn’t taste as good. Anyone here know about this allegation?

  4. Dearieme

    True. Limousin, Charolais and Simmental all produce lean beef; at the time our betters were insisting that fat was bad for you. Never mind that it’s great for flavour.

  5. @ dearieme
    As I recall it, the Limousin and Charolais were praised because they were bigger and matured faster, but I wasn’t told that Min Ag insisted, just encouraged.
    No visible penetration of the French breeds in Scotland, possiobly too cold, so Aberdeen Angus dominates the market for premier quality beef.

  6. There’s a rare apple grown in the Old Orchard, Downham Market. A particularly sour variety, with an aftertaste of bitter venom.

  7. “No visible penetration of the French breeds in Scotland”: a welcome reversal of several centuries of history, then.

  8. added:

    I bet many “community orchards” are receiving grants from Taxayer funded green “charities”/

  9. @ Chris Miller
    Good point!
    Herefords used to be one of the leading beef cattle breeds.
    Sadly, I never see adverts for Hereford steaks by name in the UK.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset


    And if they aren’t it won’t be long before the professional leeches spot an opportunity and move in.

  11. What’s helping to pollinate these burgeoning apple orchards? The rapidly declining population of bees we’ve read so much about? Those survivors must be very busy bees indeed (cue: crap Arthur Askey song)…

  12. @ Morpork
    Enthusiasts are responding to concerns aout declining bee populations by setting up hives in their orchards and capturing swarms to put in them.

  13. Apples: check out the Queen of Denmark’s summer palace. Full of apple trees, and every one a different breed/type. There’s one there producing apples ~80% the size of your head! And if you go there after the family leave at end of summer (eg, now), you are free to collect as many as you want. I was munching on royal apples for the next 3 months of my campervan circumnavigation of the Baltic.

    Beef: check out Dexter. Yes, the midget breed. Far and away the best tasting beef I had in England. Find it in farmers markets/fairs in Hampshire/West Sussex.

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