Digging deeper - Autumn fruits

Apples and press in Trelissick orchard

Fruit production has long played a key part in the history of Trelissick; during the 19th century, the walled garden here became known as ‘the fruit garden of Cornwall’.

Today, we continue this local tradition of fruit cultivation in our orchard, where you’ll find apples, quince, medlars and the most famous of all local fruits, the Kea plum. This small damson-like plum makes a delicious jam and can still be found in local hedgerows. The apple trees in the orchard are mostly Cornish, and many were planted in the 1990s, at a time when many older apple varieties were disappearing. Almost every tree in the collection is different from the next, making the orchard an important genetic pool, as well as giving it a wealth of local character.

The collection holds around 70 different varieties, amongst them apples for cooking, juicing, eating and cider-making. Come late summer and early autumn, when the trees are ripe for picking, our conversations in the garden turn to our favourite varieties. Although we can never all quite agree (because where’s the fun in that?), we have come up with our own top 5 Cornish apples:

'Ben's Red' apple in Trelissick orchard

'Ben's Red'

It’s one of the best known Cornish dessert apples and, even though it may not be the tastiest, this is such a lovely looking apple – bright red and with a crisp strawberry flavour. A good tree for a small garden, although it’s not self-fertile so will need a pollinator.

'Cornish Gilliflower' apple in Trelissick orchard

‘Cornish Gilliflower’

This is a delicious dessert apple with rusty looking skin – don’t be put off by outer appearances as the flesh has a wonderfully intense honey taste.

'Cornish Pine' apple in Trelissick orchard

‘Cornish Pine’

Another great eater and thought to be a Gilliflower seedling. Again, it isn’t the prettiest of apples but its sweet, pineapple tones makes it a firm favourite.

'Hockings Green' apple in Trelissick orchard

'Hockings Green'

A superb tree for Cornwall as it thrives in the warm, wet conditions of the south west. A good eater in early winter, and a wonderful addition to pies and tarts too (and delicious baked whole!)

'Colloggett Pippin' in Trelissick orchard

'Colloggett Pippin'

Last but most definitely not least, here’s a great cider apple which hails from the Tamar Valley - these lovely large green/yellow apples make a deliciously crisp cider. It’s a large tree, making it a perfect to the orchard or larger garden