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  • Oh hello. I didn't see you there

  • My name's Edgar Ashman and I'm what they call the third gardener here at Audley End House

  • It's a very good position for someone of my age and I'm really proud to be working here

  • But I've got a lot to learn, especially if I'm going to make it as head gardener

  • The head gardener here at Audley End, Mr Vert, insists that I take notes throughout the day for future reference

  • My diary is also useful for keeping a note of the weather and assessing how different crops respond to the conditions

  • It also allows for me to compare other gardens I've worked at to Audley End

  • It also means that if Mr Vert asks me a question

  • I'll have an answer for him

  • Well I'd better get a move on

  • Mrs Crocombe the cook has asked for some Golden Noble apples for one of her recipes

  • She's a wonderfully talented cook - everyone thinks so

  • You should smell her cooking

  • It's making me hungry just thinking about it

  • Apples are the staple of any kitchen garden nowadays

  • and here at Audley End we grow over 150 types of apple

  • and across the country 2000 types are grown

  • Competition between gardeners is fierce

  • Mr Vert is very particular about his apples

  • Like most things in the garden, he's always striving for perfection

  • and I don't want to let him down

  • Today we're going to harvest our Golden Noble apples which are perfect for cooking

  • Golden Noble sounds like a very regal name doesn't it

  • They produce large fruits with a sharp fruity flavor and plenty of juice

  • They've been grown in this country since around 1820

  • Oh look! Here comes Mr Vert now

  • Good morning Edgar

  • How are the apples looking?

  • Very good, Sir

  • So your harvesting apples yourself today

  • First time in these gardens isn't it?

  • Yes, Sir

  • Right then Edgar

  • Can you tell me what is the very first thing you need to keep in mind before harvesting apples?

  • I need to assess whether the trees on the bushes

  • are ready for picking

  • Quite right and how do you do that?

  • We assess a small number of fruits for their ripeness

  • I've read up about these apples and they should be ready

  • They're not an early like a Worcester Pearmain or a Beauty of Bath

  • But what happens in the books and what happens in the garden are two

  • very different things

  • There's a few windfalls here so that's a good sign

  • And what do we do with the windfalls?

  • Don't leave them for the wasps, Sir

  • If they're edible but slightly bruised then they go in for the bothy dinner

  • If they're too far gone then we give them to the pigs

  • Very good. Now back to the apples on the tree

  • I'm going to twist it gently with an upwards motion to see if

  • it comes off easy if there's any resistance then I know it's not ready

  • and we don't want any blemishes either

  • Not unless we know they're going for the servants' pies

  • Good lad. Remember to pick them at the right time too so we get the

  • best flavour and the longest storage life check and check again for the ones we're

  • storing even the slightest bruise can make it rot

  • And don't forget to take a basket of apples to Mrs Crocombe today

  • Yes, Sir

  • I hear she's making gateau de pomme

  • Gateau de pomme?

  • Sounds fancy!

  • I think it's like an apple marmalade or a fruit cheese

  • I'm just going to take a look at these apples and see what we've got

  • These are suitably ready

  • I'll leave it to it now then, Edgar, and go and check on the glass houses

  • Yes, Sir

  • Don't take too long

  • you know Mrs Crocombe doesn't like to be kept waiting

  • I need to make sure I do a really good job at this because as you heard this is

  • the first time I've harvested the apples here by myself

  • and Mr Vert will be keeping a close eye on me to make sure I do a good job

  • All I need to harvest the apples are my hands and a trug

  • The apple should come away from the plant

  • from the spur like this one here

  • it should come away nice and easy

  • with the stalk still intact

  • Another good indicator that the apple is ready for harvest

  • is when it takes on a brighter colour

  • and when the pips turn from white to brown

  • You have to handle them gently because bruised fruit won't keep

  • and Mrs Crocombe and Mr Vert won't be very happy with me

  • they'll have my guts for garters!

  • Now I don't want to harvest all of these apples at once I have to

  • make sure that they're all ready

  • For example, some apples will become riper

  • quicker than others, especially if the sun is shining on them

  • Now I have to keep a close eye on all of the apples to make sure that we don't have brown rot

  • which is a fungal disease. But everything seems to look good so I'm going to carry

  • on because I'm sure Mrs Crocombe is anxious to get her apples

  • It's a constant battle between the gardeners and the cooks

  • It was like my last house where the head gardener wanted all of the fruits and vegetables to be huge so

  • they could win prizes at the fair and the cook she wanted everything to be

  • delicate on the table and full of flavor

  • It was like a war over the kitchen garden wall!

  • Edgar!

  • Have you finished yet? Mrs Crocombe needs the apples

  • I've got a few trucks, Sir

  • Good lad. The others can go into storage and should keep through the autumn

  • You'll need to clean up out here too but first

  • go to the kitchens and give Mrs Crocombe the apples

  • And act sharpish, she's not best pleased

  • Yes, Sir

  • There you are!

  • I was beginning to think I was going to have to grow the apples myself!

  • Sorry

  • Mrs Crocombe, they're here

  • Ah! Finally!

  • Let me have a look

  • I picked them myself, Mrs Crocombe

  • There won't be a bruise on them

  • Gardens finest

  • Hmmm good they'll be perfect for my gateau de pomme

  • I hope there's plenty more in storage I plan to make a dish that requires whole

  • apples and for that one we need all the apples to be the same size

  • Of course, Mrs Crocombe

  • I must be leaving, Mr Vert's expecting me

  • I must get on

  • Good day to you

  • Good day Mrs Crocombe

  • As Mrs Crocome and Mr Vert asked, I put a selection of apples into storage to

  • preserve them and keep them cool

  • and now I'm cleaning up

  • When we do store the apples, we use a larder or we use one of our garden sheds

  • So long as it's cool, dark, humid and ventilated we should be fine

  • Anyway it looks like it's starting to rain

  • so I'm going to make a quick note of all of the things that we've

  • done today in the garden and then I'm going to call it a day

  • Now, if there's a specific gardening method you'd like me to show you

  • why not write me a note below and perhaps Mr Vert will let me teach you next time now

  • I'm sure I'm going to see you again soon, but in the meantime I think you'll agree

  • there's more to apple harvesting than you may have thought

Oh hello. I didn't see you there

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How to Harvest Apples - The Victorian Way

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    ally.chang posted on 2020/03/10
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