We manage 800 fruit trees, mainly heritage apple varieties, at the orchard we planted in Durley, Hampshire.
Thursday, 24 October 2013
picking the Sturmer Pippin apples
Picked a quarter ton of ripe Sturmer Pippins today, 24th October. It might have been OK to leave them on another week, they are about the last apple we pick, but they were parting from the tree with little difficulty and as this is the last opportunity I have to pick for 5 days and strong winds are forecast, I got on with it.
They have coloured up very well this year and there is very little fungal disease, doubtless due to the exceptionally warm dry summer.
They are a very sharp, firm variety and are at their best from December to February, possibly lasting as long as May in ideal conditions. Store apples cool and well aerated but not too dry, and check them weekly for rots. The variety originated in the village of Sturmer in Suffolk and was first noted in 1827. According to Rosie Sanders 'The Apple Book ' (highly recommended) the parents are believed to be Ribston Pippin and Nonpareil. I am prepared to believe this as the fruit has several similarities to Ribston Pippin which we also grow. I remember seeing Tasmanian grown Sturmers in the shops in May-it is a durable apple.
This heritage apple is a strong recommend as a late keeper, especially in areas of lower rainfall. It does not ripen as well as this every year. It also has a tendency to scab and often requires fruit thinning in early summer to avoid excessive numbers of small fruits. There are better looking and better flavoured apples, but few that store as well through the winter.
In 1992, Stephen and Julia Hayes began planting an orchard of apples, plums and pears in southern Hampshire, mainly rare old 'heritage' varieties. We sold our fruit in season from late July to Christmas at farmers' markets etc. for 14 years or so but for various reasons quit doing this, mainly as we are getting older and needed our Sundays back. The story has been told on our YouTube channel, search on Stephen Hayes apples.
Our fruitwise.net web site is no more, but a Kindle book telling the story of the orchard from dream to reality is in preparation.
Julia and I envisioned, planted and manage the Fruitwise orchard in Durley, Hampshire. I am interested in heritage apples. Valuable old apple DNA is being lost and we can't afford to lose it. The most reliable way to stop and reverse this loss is for people to become interested in preserving the heritage of apples which comes down to us from our ancestors. This can best be done by planting, celebrating, preserving and using local orchards. We are commited Christians.