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Here come the apples and pears!

It’s that time of year where we start thinking about this year’s harvest. While it’s a great excuse to teach the little ones about it when they go back to school in September, it also means a bonanza in our local food shops. While there are hundreds of varieties of apples and pears grown worldwide, our plastic riddled supermarkets only stock 12 varieties. There’s even been some recent news that shows that some apples may be a year old by the time we eat them!

Each variety has its purpose; from eating straight from the tree, like a delicious russet with its strange rough skin to a tart Bramley perfect for chutney or apple crumble. Some varieties even improve if stored naturally for 3 months.

Needless to say, it wouldn’t be a food week at Big Barn without a good list of facts, so here goes:

  1. Apples are a member of the rose family.
  2. Apples contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber.
  3. Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.
  4. Apples originated on the border of Kazakhstan and China.

    Bumper crop of apples

  5. Before tobacco was introduced in Europe, pear leaves were smoked.
  6. There are over 3000 varieties of pears grown around the world.
  7. There is mention in the Domesday Book of old pear trees as boundary markers.
  8.  Pears were used as a natural remedy against nausea in ancient Greece.
  9. Pear wood is used to make furniture, musical instruments, and wood carvings. It is also used to make wooden kitchen utensils because it doesn’t impart any colour or odour to the food and because it is tough enough to withstand repeated trips through the dishwasher without splintering or warping. Architect’s rulers are made from pear wood because it doesn’t warp.
  10. When you eat a pear, your body absorbs glucose, which is converted into energy. Eating a pear can be a great pick-me-up if you feel sluggish in the afternoon.

We firmly believe that each community should have a local orchard and apple press, not only does it help with the old phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but as most communities have a farm shop it seems to make sense to offer these items in the ship. Especially, if we’re serious about taking on the supermarket with successful farm shops, our food producers need to be growing produce specifically to sell in the shop, or individuals can be making the most of our Crop for the Shop scheme, or cooking to swap food at the shop on special food swap days.

Fiona at the Loch Arthur Farm Shop

Fiona at the Loch Arthur Farm Shop

A switch from the supermarket is a must, but why not hunt down some of your veggies or meat this week? Try the local butcher or farm shop this week using our local food map and then use the supermarket once a month for washing stuff, loo rolls, etc. You should save money, get better food and encourage more local production.

So the next time you visit your local farm shop mention apple day, crop for the shop and food swaps. If they are keen and not on BigBarn please tell them to contact us.

If you have a favourite apple or pear recipe then why not share it for a chance to win a prize? Please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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