The trusty James Grieve apple tree in Trevor’s Kitchen Garden is down a little on last year’s bumper harvest, but the apples are big and juicy. They sell well at Balbriggan Fish & Farmers’ Market on a Friday morning and brighten up our packed lunches over the last few weeks. Some are juiced and others are stewed for desserts. As an early apple, they are nearly gone now, but the harvest in Sonairte’s 2 acre organic orchard up the road in Laytown, Co. Meath, is just coming on stream in time for Apple Day.
Apple Day in Sonairte was a great success with primary school students enjoying the funny names of old apple tree varieties, like Sheep’s Snout, Golden Spire and my favourite Kerry Pippin which dates back to 1802. Today 210 years later even the sagely visitors like Joe Barry the Farming Independent forestry correspondent was young by comparison. Joe reckoned the coastal location of Sonairte had saved our harvest in the light of the frost damage he incurred in Co. Kildare.
With 127 varieties of apple tree at Sonairte, some quite rare, we feel a huge responsibility to look after this precious aspect of Ireland’s heritage. Being volunteers, we can do with all the help we can get! So do call in if you missed Apple Day soon – ADMISSION TO SONAIRTE IS FREE -the Sunflower Cafe is open and the orchard, garden and river walk are all looking good. If I am around, I will make you some fresh apple juice from some of the organic apples. We had great practise juicing during Apple Day. Beannachtaí na n-úll ort!