Apple season at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
It's that season of mist and mellow fruitfulness when the Ranger team harvests the apples, as well as pears, quinces and cobnuts, from Sissinghurst's beautiful orchard, sending the apples off to be juiced locally so they can be bottled and sold in our shop.
The first job is a pleasurable one - tasting each of the thirty varieties to make sure they are ready for picking. A ripe apple will lift away easily from the tree (no tugging or twisting required) and a slice through the middle of the fruit should reveal seeds that are dark and which come away easily from their pods.
Once rangers Peter, Paul and Peter are happy that this year's fruit is tip-top, their team of enthusiastic volunteers descends on the apple orchard and harvests them by hand in a matter of a day or two, producing around ten large crates of apples, which will produce approximately 2500 litres of delicious apple juice. The apples, cobnuts, pears and quinces are also available from the Plant shop, loose in paper bags and plenty will be used for the seasonal menu in the Granary restaurant.
The fruit trees were planted in 2009 on the site of Sissinghurst's original orchard and have blossomed into an area of the estate that not only provides beautiful views from its picnic area, but also brings in an income to go towards the upkeep of the castle and gardens.