About the fruit

Norfolk Royal Russet apple tree in fruit

This is the time of year we are constantly asked: “What happens to the fruit?” Sometimes visitors are quite concerned because they think that the fruit is “going to waste” but please be assured that it’s not!

Firstly, there is a natural fruit drop which occurs - fruit thinning does helpbut we never have time to do this, so rather helpfully, the trees do it for us! This means that fruit may be lying on the ground until we have chance to clear it away. The remaining fruit on the trees then goes on to ripen. ready to harvest later in the year.
Secondly; most of the fruit trees in the garden are historic varieties, developed for storage over winter so there would be fresh fruit available for the household all the way into Spring. Some varieties of pear for example ‘Catillac’ : whilst it may look plump and juicy and ready to eat, is like a block of wood! It was cultivated to store through the winter then be stewed in spring.
Best stored over winter
Catillac pear
Best stored over winter

Apple ‘Golden Reinette’, is best harvested in November and stores well over the winter. Aside from the Norfolk Royal Russet, which is ready to eat from late September, most of our fruit is not ready to harvest until the end of October. In our last full open week we harvest all the fruit and it is available for visitors to the garden to help themselves in exchange for a small donation (paid into the honesty box located by the walled garden entrance gates).  Some of the plums and apples in the orchard area are ready earlier; from late August for the plums, and the beginning of September for some of the apples.
In the orchard area we are happy for visitors to help themselves to the fruit, but please be kind to the trees and don’t climb them to get to the fruit or yank fruit off which could damage the branches. When fruit is ripe it will easily come away into your hand with a slight twist.