Peter May's Guide to apples.. and more!

1. Some information about the apple varieties we grow at Ringmer Community Orchard  Ringmer Community Orchard

ADAMS PEARMAIN

1826 The origin of the apple is Herefordshire or possibly Norfolk. Its first name was “Hanging Pearmain” because it stays or hangs on the tree for a long time without dropping off.  The apple was later renamed Adam’s Pearmain after Robert Adam an apple enthusiast.

Rich, aromatic nutty flavour.  Orange red colour with greenish, yellow and gold.  The tree is scab (a fungal disease) resistant and tends to fruit one year with few apple the next.

ASHMEAD’S KERNEL

First grown by William Ashmead who lived in Gloucester. A vigorously growing variety that needs lots of space. The apple has a strong sweet-sharp flavour. Greenish-yellow fruit with some russeting.

EDWARD VII  

1902 Rowe’s Nursery Worcester. This is a very late flowering cooking apple with a green skin that becomes more yellow as it ripens. Named after the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.

LORD LAMBOURNE

1907 raised by Laxton Brothers of Bedford. The fruit is sweet and jucy with a slight strawberry flavour and some acidity.  Bright red skin with stripes over greenish-yellow background.  The skin becomes greasy as it stores

Orleans Reinnette

ORLEANS REINETTE

Probably originated in France and first described by a Mr Knopp 1776.  The fruit has an orange red and gold colours with an aromatic, nutty sweet taste.

RIBSTON PIPPIN

First grown at Ribston Hall in Yorkshire from a pip brought over from Normandy in about 1688. Intense, rich, aromatic flavour.  Brownish orange flush and red stripes over yellow green.

 

 2. A Guide to Apple Picking, Grading and Storage

 Different apple varieties ripen over a long period from August to October.  You will know when the apple is ripe because it can easily be picked from the tree by holding the apple gently and giving it a slight twist. Other signs of ripeness are the fruit developing bright colours and the pips turning from white to brown.  Sometimes you have to pick the fruit early when birds start to peck the fruit.

Apples need to be picked with care with the stalk intact because damaged or bruised fruit does not store well.  Also customers will not want to buy bruised fruit.

the apples should gently be placed in the picking container and then when the container is full, carefully emptied into the grading bins.

The grades are:

Grade 1 Largest fruit without any blemishes or spots.

Grade 2 Medium sized fruit with occasional marks

Grade 3 Juicing grade fruit. Small and marked fruit

in modern orchards there are machines which measure, grade and wash each size of fruit automatically.

Once graded the apple bins should be clearly labelled with the variety and grade, then moved to the apple store.  At Ringmer this is a building in the coolest part of the orchard.  A cool temperature helps to slow down the ripening of the fruit and allows it to be stored for several months.  Some varieties will store longer than others. Edward V11 will store till January while Orleans Reinette quickly becomes soft.

Modern orchards have very sophisticated apple stores which allow fruit to be kept for nine months.  This is achieved by keeping the fruit at a low temperature and then reducing the amount of oxygen in the store which slows down ripening.

More information about Ringmer Community Orchard