Thursday, 21 October 2010

Castle Apple and Pear Scrumping weekend

On weekend of the 9th and 10th October, as part of the 10:10 global action on climate change we decided to do an apple themed event and we joined in with the local team hackney harvest to go round the local area to pick apples and pears that would usually go to waste. The hackney harvest team started the project this year, a there is so much fruit going to waste from local fruit trees which are mainly in people's back gardens and also many in public places. Some of the trees are really big, and difficult to harvest from, and sometimes the tree owners they end up with such an abundance of fruit that it is too much to deal with, or they don't even pick them at all and see the dropping fruit as a nuisance.
Thanks to the inspiration from projects such as the scrumping project in Walthamstow - who started this idea a few years ago, and abundance project in sheffield. This is a great way to get this fruit put to good use in the local community. The fruit gets picked (with permission from the owners!) some fruit going back to the owners, and the rest is distributed to community groups as fruit or as juice, desserts, chutneys, jams and cider!

Getting climbers up the trees!
As a first year trial, I thought it would be a great idea to get some Castle climbers involved, using their skills and strength to climb tall fruit trees to shake the high branches which wouldn't usually be reached! We went to a back garden of someone I know on Allerton Road (a friend who I happen to pass while he was picking up his growing commmunities veg bag from the Castle pick up point). He told me he had a huge pear tree completely covered in fruit. We went there in full force, couple of climbers up the tree, and it was raining pears! Think we ended up with about 80kg of pears! And that is from one tree!
The next day, I borrowed an apple press, and we spent the day pressing the fruit into juice, making apple fritters, and playing some apple games, and we even sang a song, thanks to Robert Malies who turned up with his guitar and made up a song for us to sing along to! (you can here it here) It was lovely and sunny, and some of the Sunday climbers who came to climb with their children, kept on finding them out in the garden with us helping us press juice, trying the apple fritters and trying the apple bobbing! Some of the juice was drunk by us all, then some sold in the Castle cafe, some made into apple cakes (thanks to Sam in the cafe) and some, (well most of it) is fermenting somewhere in the castle, slowing turning into cider! To be drunk on after a very hard cold workday in the garden.

Next year, there is definitely potential to get tons more fruit! After chatting to a few locals about their big fruit trees,it seems they are more than happy to let us in their back gardens to climb and harvest their unwanted fruit. See more photos here