Come September and almost overnight the muggy August evenings gave way to a the brisk breeze of Autumn and naturally, along with digging out all my favourite scarves and knitwear, a trip to an apple orchard was on the cards. After all, what marks the start of Autumn more clearly than seeing your breath in the air as you wander through row upon row of crisp red apples just asking to be picked?!
We headed for The Hop Shop at Castle Farm one Sunday morning to enjoy all the apples they have on offer. This particular orchard grows Norfolk Royals and Cox apples – in case you’re fussy about what type you’re after. The Norfolk Royal is not an apple I’ve heard of before but we soon find out why – they are notoriously sensitive and bruise easily so Castle Farm is one of the only commercial growers in the world. However, shiny, bright red and deliciously sweet, to the point where they look like something out of Snow White, they are worth taking the care over.
We donned our favourite autumnal clothing (tan boots are a must, obviously) and ventured to the field. The great thing about Castle Farm
is that they allow dogs (on leads) to wander the orchards with you so you can combine a dog walk with your apple picking which is always great! My dog absolutely loved sniffing all the apples that had dropped on the floor, and I’m pretty sure I saw him try and take a bit out of one particularly rotten looking apple. We spent about an hour walking up and down the orchard, making sure to pick only the best, shiniest apples and to make sure the dog was appropriately worn out for the morning! We then drove a little way down the lane to The Hop Shop
which is a beautiful little farm shop with lots of farm produce (I picked up a few cute little squashes and fruit) as well as loads of lavender products as Castle Farm
grows huge amounts of lavender and during the summer months you can take tours of the lavender fields – I know my plan for next July!
My plan for our delicious apple haul varies from the simply just eating it for lunch to the rather more extravagant attempting to make those beautiful apple roses that I keep seeing on Pinterest!