Volunteers arrived in plenty of time to put up the gazebo, set the tables and prepare the apple varieties for tasting. Our story teller, Rich Sylvester, arrived and chose a wonderful lime tree within our orchard area where he set up his story telling den.
The tennis courts beside our orchard were busy too, with parents bringing children for tennis coaching. This was great for us as parents found out about our event and all could join in either before or after their tennis session.
The orchard sign had been installed on 11th October, in time for the great unveiling today. It has illustrations provided by some pupils from St Michael's Primary School, a local school. One of the local Perry Vale Ward councillors, Cllr Alan Till, offered to unveil the sign and he invited a couple of children to help him. One of these two children saw his illustration in the sign and looked really happy; he had been one of eight children who contributed orchard-related pictures.
Our story teller gathered adults and children and recalled some apple names. He gave out pairs of wooden rhythm sticks so that people could chant and clap out the rhythms - Lane's Prince Albert . . . Cox's Orange Pippin . . . Winter Banana . . . with these wonderful rhythmic beats and chants everyone followed Rich to the story den. Try it yourself - it sounds rather soothing.
The apples we brought were cut into small pieces so that as many people as possible could taste them. Some varieties had been purchased from Brogdale, on the edge of Faversham in Kent. As it happens, Brogdale is holding a national Apple Festival this weekend! get along there if you can.
If you don't know of Brogdale they grow over 2000 varieties of apple as well as other fruit. Their fruit is not grown commercially but groups like friends of Mayow Park and other organisations can order small numbers of heritage fruit for events such as our Apple Day. We ordered four varieties from Brogdale and more varieties were harvested from local gardens or bought from our local greengrocer.It was a joy to see so many children who LOVE eating apples and who wanted to taste as many apples as they could. Could it happen that they may grow up wanting to grow their own fruit? will they be our future Mayow Park orchard carers? It seemed that Zonga, a fairly new variety grown in Kent and bought from our local greengrocer, was the most popular.
For those who wanted to learn more names of apples there was an Apple Variety Treasure Hunt. In and around the orchard appeared large cut-out cardboard apples with unusual names written on them. The task was to find all 15 cardboard apples and note their names on a sheet. To encourage a slower pace participants were asked to also add any item found in nature next to the apple variety named on the cardboard. Everyone who returned their sheet was a winner!