A friend who lives just a few valleys away from here in the Trough of Bowland has been telling me that he’s only got a measly 3 apples this year from his orchard of 10 heritage apple trees. He blames an absence of pollinating insects during blossom time. We’ve been lucky – all our apple trees have cropped well. In fact they’ve never failed. Why this should be, I’m not sure.
It’s interesting to compare the apples here with the damsons which we grow at the Damson Dene Hotel. The crop there is very variable year to year. Sometimes, when there is a very heavy harvest one year the trees will be barren the next, which we attribute to the fact that they need to catch their breath. Sometimes the trees are caught by frost, just when the blossom comes out. This year the blossom came early and the trees looked splendid on April 14th, which is when we celebrated Damson Day. April 14th was a lovely sunny day, and sunny days tend to be followed by frosty nights. Nevertheless we have a decent crop this year, enough to see us through the winter. I’m looking forward to a regular supply of apple and damson pies.