Autumn is upon us, and the apples are ripening on the trees, ready to be picked and eaten raw, cooked, or made into juice or cider (including cider vinegar). For me, the events (generally dubbed ‘Apple Days’) that come alongside this apple-harvesting season are great fun, and it was delightful to see people of all ages come to pick apples and enjoy walking through an ancient orchard. Quite honestly, small local events such as the one I attended today are a great way to meet people, relax, and overall have an enjoyable day, all whilst supporting local businesses that come to sell their products (I picked up a jar of cinnamon honey, which is absolutely delicious!). Beats staring at a computer any day!
Of course, I was there with a few intentions (1) to buy and eat local apples, (2) to explore the ancient orchard, (3) take photos of the trees, and (4) hunt for fungi. Brilliantly, I managed to tick all four things off, by the end of the afternoon. Nothing tops trying locally-sourced produce, and apples picked either directly from the trees on site or brought in from the wider area aren’t something one comes across every day, particularly if shopping at larger supermarkets.
With regards to the other aims on my list, not only were there some stunning ancient apple trees to get photos of, but some sublime fungi to go alongside – namely, Inonotus hispidus, though also a tier of Ganoderma australe. Any agarics on the floor would have, sadly, been trampled by those exploring, and from clearance work to create paths in the days before. Not to worry, for the Inonotus-laden apple trees went down a treat with me, and also some children who took a keen interest in them as well. Certainly, a great opportunity to teach them a thing or two about fungi, and their responsiveness to feeling the fungal sporophores and exploring the trees for other fungi was really good to see – they even found some more, as I could hear from a few trees away!
Below are an assortment of pictures from the various apple trees that did have sporophores on them, and the trees upon which they reside are – in themselves – quite sublime. Contortions galore, and that really rugged look that only an old fruit trees can really possess. Enjoy!
For those who do like ancient orchards, Wildtrack Publishing (run by Ian Rotherham) put out a good book on such orchards across the UK. At only £22.50, it’s a good price, too!