Celebrating the great season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

    The autumnal harvest is upon us and that means a bumper crop of produce for food fans to enjoy. Top of the list are apples as not only are they one of the most popular fruits with plenty of health benefits, they’re also one of the most diverse to enjoy and cook with at this time of year

    David Knight Pippins Farm

    Every year at the beginning of October, National Bramley Apple Week celebrates all that’s great about the humble crunchy fruit. It officially kicks off next Monday but to get ready for it we talked to David Knight from Pippins Farm about his successful apple business, based just outside Pembury, and give you some delicious sweet and savoury recipe ideas to try which use this classic British fruit as their key ingredient.

    “We have been in business since 1981 and although there are three people who work full-time on the farm, we usually employ up to 12 during harvest time.

    None of our business is export, we produce 250 tonnes of apples which are then distributed to both local shops and UK retailers. Although we grow lots of different fruit, including cherries, plums, quinces and pears, apples are our main business. The rest are sold for local consumption in and around Tunbridge Wells through a variety of farm shops such as Locality, Fullers Farm Shop and Eggs To Apples. We also enjoy going to the local food markets such as The Pantiles and the Tunbridge Wells Farmers’ ones as it’s good to meet customers.

    Originally, we only grew Cox, Russet and Bramley apples when we started the business but have since added Gala and Braeburn to the mix – as well as our new varieties such as Fuji and Scrumptious which have proved very popular.

    In 1985 we introduced an orchard of rare English apples and have now replanted it a second time. In it we grow a number of specialist varieties that you won’t find easily elsewhere. One of the pleasures of buying local produce is to taste unusual and different fruits.

    Harvest time is special for us because it’s the culmination of a year’s work and it’s a great time on the farm – as long as the weather is good and the machinery doesn’t break down!”

    AN APPLE A DAY…

    …doesn’t just keep the doctor away – it is also:

    • naturally fat-free n low-fat food
    • saturated fat-free n a high source of fibre n naturally sodium free
    • naturally salt free n contain fructose

    More bitesize facts:

    • The majority of Bramleys are grown here in the South East
    • Each year in the UK we eat around 100 million fresh Bramley apples and 250 million that have been processed
    • They are unique because they contain a higher malic acid content and lower sugar levels which produce a stronger, tangy-tasting apple whose flavour is retained both during and after cooking

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