In our latest blog, one visitor tells us of their experience at August’s Heritage Orchard Day, and why they’ll be coming back for more…

I came to the Heritage Orchard Day in August with my partner, parents, sister and brother-in-law. After experiencing much of this year in lockdown we were really looking forward to spending a day out together as a family, enjoying the great outdoors, and doing something a little different.

 Fruits of our labour

Picking and tasting the fruit, while comparing the tastes and textures with each other, was a simple pleasure we all really enjoyed (who knew there was a pineapple-flavoured apple?!). Scouring through the vast selection of apples, pears, and plums to find those we would select to take home was not only a lot of fun but gave us all a real appreciation of the wonderful variety of heritage and rare apples available to us right on our doorstep – it’s certainly something to cherish and protect.

It was also interesting to learn the names and backgrounds of the fruits that we had harvested – bringing the signage to life were tour guides who we found to be not just helpful and knowledgeable, but really friendly too. One guide even helped my mum to find her sister’s favourite Russet variety!

It was special to be able to take the heritage fruit home to enjoy – there were certainly plenty of crumbles made during the following week!

The cherry on top

While some visitors brought picnics to eat in Brogdale’s lovely wildlife meadows, we chose to sample from some of the stalls pitched up at the end of the walk.

We were pleased to come across Wild Classroom who were creating some seasonal dishes over a fire using the fruit from the National Collection. The plum crumble with added rosemary and honey was delicious! We washed the crumble down with Brogdale Craft Cider’s “Woolly Pig” cider, which we learned was hand-crafted onsite only using apples and pears from the Collection – the fruity flavours were amazing!

Just before heading home, we picked up some doughnuts from Enzo’s Bakery to enjoy with a cup of tea later, before seeing none other than Jane Beedle of Great British Bake Off fame, who was sharing some of her baked delights – her cheese and pear scones were a firm favourite of ours and marked the perfect end to our morning.

 A pear-fect day

We had such a lovely day and found it special to be able to be amongst the first to harvest our own heritage fruit. During a time when people are struggling to find safe and entertaining days out, the Heritage Orchard Days are not just something fruit lovers will enjoy – I have no doubt that everyone, from couples to young families, will enjoy getting out in nature and experiencing this rather special corner of Kent.

It was good to know that by joining the day we were also helping to protect and preserve the orchards for generations to come. As Orchard Pass holders, we’ll certainly be back for more family days out!

Thank you to Rachel Pritchard for contributing this write-up. 

The next Heritage Orchard Days are taking place on 26th & 27th September  and 17th & 18th October.  Click on the link to book your tickets here.

The National Fruit Collection is one of the largest fruit collections in the world and is located at Brogdale Farm, near Faversham, Kent.

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