First trip to this farmer's market today. Very slow start, my stall was set up by shortly after 9 am but almost no shoppers until after 10. I took the last of the Warwickshire Droopers (our last plums of 2009) and some Ribston Pippin, Red Pippin, Spartan and Bramley, plus a single punnet of sloes which people thought were blackcurrants but nobody bought. I brought them home and chucked them in some cider I have on the go to give it a little extra colour and body.
It was nice to meet some new people and thanks ever so much to people who actually bought some of our apples.
Lots of conversations and discussion about people's memories of and problems with plum and apple trees, but very little fruit was purchased. It fascinates me how many people like to stop for a chat, talk about the fruit trees in their garden, ask for some free advice, bemoan the decline of the old English Apple varieties, then after some free tastings at my apple stall buy just 2 apples or maybe none at all. If people want locally grown seasonal English apples, they have to support local producers. I can understand it if folks prefer to get it all from the supermarket, but that's not what they say.
Another thing, I wish people wouldn't pick my apples up and sniff them before putting them back on the stall. I suppose I should take it as a compliment. The supermarkets wrap food up in plastic to stop people fingering it.
Sorry for the moan, but since the Hampshire Farmers Market company charge stallholders £50 and I barely sold £100 of fruit in 5 hours......do the math, its not a great use of my Sunday. Allowing for packing the van, driving to and from the market, allowing for other costs that's £40 for 8 hours work just for SELLING the fuit, which is below the minimum wage for working on Sunday, then you have to add something for actually GROWING it. And people were moaning about the proposed new Sainsburys supermarket planned for Bishop's Waltham. Please don't take this the wrong way, but put yourself in my shoes. I hate to moan, it looks petty apart from anything else, but folks had made lots of favourable comments about the farmer's market in the comments book, and said they want it to continue, but it won't continue unless they spend enough money.
Anyhow, I'll be at Sunnyfields again next Saturday with Ribston Pippin, Sunset, Spartan and perhaps some Kidd's Orange Red and Orleans Reinette, depending on how ripe they feel on Friday. I will bring a box or 2 of windfalls for really cheap prices since someone asked for them and will try to find the energy to press some apple juice Friday afternoon. Sorry plums finished, I may have some pears if they feel ripe. Sloes for sloe gin or apple and sloe jelly (will post recipes) on request.
Julia and I will be at Winchester next Sunday too.
Enjoy the last of the summer! There are plenty of blackberries in the hedgerows, but there won't be for long
BLACKBERRY WINE RECIPE
this is arguably the best of the 'country' wines
to make 1 gallon (6 bottles)
-Take as many blackberries as you can pick (1lb will make an acceptable rose, 3lb is much better, 4lb is ideal, more is really rich and fruity)
-crush berries in a large stainless steel or food grade polythene vessel. A wooden rolling pin or a flat bottomed bottle is a useful implement to crush them with
-pour over 8 pints of boiling water
-stir in 1kg of white sugar
-add wine yeast (any wine yeast will do) when temperature has dropped to body heat. Ideally check the specific gravity with a hydrometer, you want it between 100 and 110, higher and it will get 'stuck' and be too sugary.
Cover and leave at room temperature or slightly lower for 3 or 4 days, make sure flies are kept out and gas allowed to escape (a loose fitting lid is usual). then strain off and ferment a few weeks longer in suitable vessels, the ideal thing is a 1 gallon glass demijohn with airlock.
ideally measure gravity with hydrometer. When it has fallen to about 10, rack off again. Bottle using a polythene siphon when clear. Drink within 6 months, this wine can keep for years but loses fruitiness, IMHO its best used during the winter after it was made
VARIATIONS add some elderberrries, sloes or damsons to complexify the flavour. You can also add a bit of spice, sch as cloves or cinnamon, but beware of overdoing this. If using cloves I would add no more than a dozen whole cloves to the initial fermentation. if you have access to apple juice, you could use this instead of water for a richer product, if so then use half the added sugar.
CAUTION blackberry wine contains ALCOHOL if you consume too much you will get DRUNK. this is not good and I don't recommend it.
Apple Blossom in Sandford
10 months ago