Buying an apple tree at Portobello organic market

The cold weather has retreated. The sun is out, the sky is clear and we made it to Portobello Organic Market today. The elder daughter, who I think She who knits calls kidlet, went full tilt for the treasure hunt, leaving She who knits trailing in her wake and buying a few groceries here and there.

Family at the market

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Apple trees for sale from PEDAL

PEDAL have a sale of apple trees this weekend. I’ve included the text of their email & have collated some information on the varieties for sale & their pollination groups.

We have a glut of good quality fruit trees that we are keen to find good homes for, and thought that some of you may be involved in growing projects that might take a few, or may be interested in one yourself. PEDAL (Portobello Transition Town) have around seventy apple trees, mostly maidens (first year grafts) on medium or dwarfing rootstocks, including varieties such as Discovery, Egremont Russet, Ellison’s Orange, Fiesta, Grenadier, Katy, Lord Derby, Blenheim Orange and others.

We also have some Morello cherry trees to sell, priced @ £8 ea. These will be on sale at the Portobello Organic Market on Saturday, 4th of December, Brighton Park, Portobello, between 10am and 2pm. These are top quality trees at about 1/3 of the usual garden centre prices. They will potentially provide you with free, naturally grown, fresh and very locally grown fruit, as well as making excellent Christmas presents which last and last. Tell your friends, come early to avoid disappointment and enjoy the excellent market for good, organically produced food as well!

You are welcome to call Peter Upton at PEDAL on 0131 258 4483 from Monday 6th of December to find out if we have any still to sell after the Market.

Here are links to info on each of those named varieties & their flowering/pollination groups. Please note that the humble crab apple has a long flowering time and makes loads of pollen and can be used across many flowering groups, so one per street or in nearby disused land could act as a pollination source for a neighbourhood.

Variety Flowering group
Egremont Russet 2
Discovery 3
Fiesta 3
Grenadier 3
Katy 3
Blenheim Orange 3
Ellison’s Orange 4
Lord Derby 4

As a geeky aside, I really like the design of the Orange Pippin website. It’s got a good history of your browsing, and the naming convention for URLs is sensible.

Update: just seen a tweet from @Orange_Pippin with link to instructions for what to do if it’s too cold to plant bare-root apple trees (Heeling-in). Thanks!

First russet apple of the season

Coming back from holiday, we travelled through St. Pancras International Station which has a range of upmarket shops including Sourced — a posh nosh shop. They had a good selection of apple varieties and I bought some Discovery for the train back to Edinburgh. At the till, a platter of russets sat there inviting me to take one away, so why not?

It’s not long since the last Egremont Russet of the previous season, a bit wrinkly and tough, got eaten. This new one was nice and firm but a touch under-ripe so that the nutty flavour hadn’t fully developed. Perhaps it wasn’t an Egremont but it’s quite close if not. It’s so different from the Discovery which, although partly green, tastes like a red apple.

How to find out about apples?

The Orange Pippin site has a comprehensive list of apple varieties, and good information on their taste, appearance etc. I haven’t found a similar site with cultivation information for each variety.

The weekend of 17-18 October looks like the time to be finding apples in Edinburgh. On 17-18 October 2009 the RBGE has an apple weekend, and on Saturday 17 October 2009 Bridgend allotments have their apple day.

I knew the national collection is at Brogdale, but their website is quite uniformative, and so this article in the Guardian, which outlines some of the woes of Brogdale, sheds a little light.

Other stuff

Cornell University have made great contributions to apple breeding

Fruitnet seems to have a lot of interesting articles on the fruit industry

Abundance Edinbugh OTOH hass much more information on the local scene