Posted by: travelrat | October 7, 2013



I like ‘walking the virtual dog’ at this time of the year, for most of my usual routes take me past apple trees. Not trees in a formal orchard … I’m a bit too old to be caught ‘scrumping’ … but the trees that seem to grow at random in various odd places beside the path. Maybe they once grew in the garden of a long-gone farmhouse? There’s a lot by the side of the old railway track; maybe they grew from apple cores thrown out of the window by long-dead rail passengers.

I once met a farmer, who told me I was welcome to take as many apples from his tree as I wanted.

‘The Common Market don’t recognise the type’ he told me ‘so, I can’t sell them’

Which is a pity, because they were delicious.

In one village, I came upon a Community Orchard. Passers-by were welcome to pick and eat an apple; maybe even carry a couple away in their pockets. But, I suspect if you brought a basket, it would be frowned upon.

What surprises me is that most  isolated trees have apples lying rotting on the ground around them. Have we become so conditioned to buying pre-packaged, carefully selected fruit at the supermarket that we disdain stuff growing au naturel?

(You are, no doubt, familiar with the woman who refused her son an apple, saying ‘They don’t grow on trees!’)

This morning, I passed a house where there was a box of apples at the gate, with the notice ‘Help Yourself … but please leave the box’

I put one in my pocket, and took another to eat as I walked. This, I thought, is how apples used to taste! And, I wondered … if they’re there for anyone who wants to take one; if anyone who wants to pick one can have on … why are the ones in the supermarket as expensive as they’ve ever been?

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