The Orchard group will soon be planting the first of a selection of trees (including Scottish Heritage varieties) in their Sandown plot. Plotters should feel free to pop down for a look and a chat every time they see some activity down the bottom end of the new plots. The group are trying to encourage more people to plant fruit trees in Nairnshire and if you have any space perhaps you might want to consider a fruit tree or two? Maybe you might not be a plotter but someone who has a piece of land suitable for an orchard. If you are interested in planting fruit trees why not come to the Society's meeting on November 10th when John Hancox of Scottish Orchards will be giving a lecture in the Community Centre.
Recently the chair of the Orchard Group had the pleasure of visiting an apple fair and an orchard whilst in Normandy. The local cider on sale at the fair tasted good. You could taste the apples, meet the farmer and sample his Brut or Demi-sec. The folk on the stall even wanted you to try the exotic foreign dish they'd made for the occasion "apple crumble".
At the Orchard it was interesting to see many of the older trees with a massive distance between them. This is the traditional Normanday way to enable grazing in the orchards. It makes sense really to multi task your land and allow beasts to roam underneath the trees, the creatures must enjoy windfalls too. Newer trees were planted much closer together however, and this was to enable the machines to collect the apples easier according to one of the employees. We saw trailer loads of apples heading for the press but didn't see any of the machines in action. The whole Orchard area seemed to be about the same size as the Sandown Lands. Some of the trees were very heavy with apples and I asked if it had been a good harvest. It was sort of "so-so" I was told and I explained the disaster locally in Nairnshire after the damp cold spring rotted the blossom. Here's a few pictures of the apple fair and the orchard.