Monday, September 13th was the start of National Organic Week which An Bord Bia organises every year to shine a light on who and what is growing organically and where of course. A couple of months ago the invitation was extended to farmers, restaurants and growers big and small to put on an event to highlight the range of organic activities in the country. As I was going to juice some apples on that day anyway, I decided to throw open the door and host a workshop.
So the Bord Bia calendar of over 30 events in Organic Week 2010 included Trevor’s Kitchen Garden for the first time. The Irish Times was good enough to mention the event as part of the Organic Week events, even if the reference was a bit tongue in cheek! ‘Fancy a nosey around Trevor Sargent’s garden?’ was the opening line in the magazine section last Saturday.
As a result a genuinely interested and interesting range of people dropped in. Some neighbours walked. Some came by train while others drove from nearby counties of Meath, Kildare and friends from Wexford aswell. My own trusty ‘James Grieve’ apple tree has cropped well again this year but to paraphrase a saying, ‘it takes more than one variety of apple to make a juicing demonstration and workshop’.
So, earlier I had collected from Sonairte, the National Ecology Centre, near Laytown, Co Meath, three other varieties, with the help of Sonairte gardener, Kathy Marsh. I also appreciated the use of the Sonairte juicer which I had sponsored a couple of years ago.
Not only could we compare the flavours of different apple varieties when juiced but thanks to Sonairte we could also compare cost, speed and result from the two types of juicer in use. What began as a juicing demonstration turned into a workshop quickly enough when Caoimhghín answered the call to try juicing while I washed a few more empty bottles for people to take home some flavoursome samples for the breakfast in the morning or the school going lunch boxes.
‘Worcester Pomerain’, which yield up a pink juice was quite sweet and popular with Rita. The ‘James Grieve’, I’m happy to say, had everyone licking their lips in approval. A couple of the hard men in the company liked ‘Golden Spire’ because like a spire, it was a bit sharp! ‘Lady Sudeley’ was sweet and almost strawberry flavoured at first sip but then the after-taste was a little watery to my palate. Very pleasant nonetheless.
As my guests left clutching a couple of bottles of fresh apple juice a piece, thoughts turned to cleaning up. The key thing to do is wash juicers immediately or at least soak the disassembled parts in water. If the pulp is allowed to dry the cleaning becomes a chore. Lots more apples on the tree so the cleaned juicer will be pressed into service a few more times this month and the resulting juice frozen in container to be thawed in the months to come.