It is not more than about three or four years that traditional varieties of apples and pears were seasonally available at the market. Long queues used to drape across the front of the hall when Biddleston Orchards would fill three outside stalls with boxes of such wonders as Ashmead Kernel, Cox's Orange Pippin, Blenheim Orange, Beauty of Bath and my all time favourite, Lord Lambourne. Then, for a few years, Carrob Growers would have customers visiting from many miles. The names alone bring back wonderful boyhood memories and some confusion why apples have orange in the name, and I did not know the difference between a pippin and pearmain but, despite that, scrumping forrays rarely disappointed and were rewarded with breathtaking flavours and juicy crispnessess. It is sad that such a valuable inheritance has so quickly become forgotten and displaced by the Galas, Braeburns and Fujis of this world. The chances are high that the next apple or pear bought from a supermarket, will be imported.
So what can be done? A farmers' market should be the last bastion where this fruit can be obtained but it is becoming increasingly obvious that the model of a grower bringing fruit to the market is no longer going to work. The apples and pears are still around and the market is looking for ways to, once more, have these available. If you have an interest in this subject and would like to join an Apple Group please use this form.