Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

As harvest approaches we’re celebrating apples and pears!

With summer drawing to an end (unfortunately), now we start thinking about harvest. You might well remember singing songs about it and having your teachers explain why there are so many more farm vehicles on country roads at this time of year, but there are real implications in our shops too! Head down to your local farm shops and you’ll find huge varieties of apples and pears locally and if you look further afield you’ll find many more too, but head into our plastic riddled supermarkets and they’ll only be stocking one of 12 varieties. If you’ve seen on the news that your apples may be a year old by the time we eat them then head down to your farm shop to get the real thing, fresh from the tree!

One thing we find, with apples especially, is that they’re very diverse. 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 our facts, so did you know?

  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.

One thing that we’ll keep pushing for is each community having a local orchard and apple press.  It helps with the old phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but as most communities have a farm shop they’d be the perfect place to sell them too!Iif 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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