We hope to hold Apple Festival later this year in conjuction with Open Farm Sunday. If you would like to join us please get in touch.
Apple Day was the brainchild of Sue Clifford, Angela King and Richard Deakin, who in 1983 set up Common Ground in order to encourage people to engage actively with their local environment. The apple, for them, was a symbol of all that we have lost in the global consumer culture, and all that we could easily regain through the smallest attention to the things that grow on our doorstep – not food only, but wildlife, landscapes, festivals and culture.
In our globalised society we take the easy route to comfort, buying standardised products in the supermarket, taking packaged holidays and entertaining ourselves with television at home and the occasional trip to a restaurant serving foreign recipes and global produce. But there is something else that we once possessed, when we found our nourishment and our leisure activities in the world close at hand. Apple Day was founded in order to remind people of this. It is the time of harvest, when the wonderful nature of the fruit that inspired so much of our national art and poetry can be appreciated in the place where it grows. The apple is a symbol of the things that we long for and that we could so easily obtain – local produce, multiple varieties, the culture of adventure and diversity that our ancestors created in the place where we are.
Three hundred or more varieties of apple once grew in England, each marked by a soil and a climate of its own. Thanks to the standardization imposed by supermarkets and the global culture of food, only a few of these varieties remain with us, most harvested while young and matured in warehouses. Their dead taste conveys the lifeless way of producing them. To learn about the many varieties of apple that you can grow at home is to learn also about our country and its regional differences. It is to gain a little insight into the history of the relation between human beings and the tress that have nourished them, and which could continue to nourish them for the foreseeable future.
In preparing a Wiltshire Apple Day we have remembered the many ways in which we hunger for a more local, more creative and more festive way of life. We want to celebrate the landscape of our county, and the way in which it has been shaped by its residents and adapted to our uses. We will reflect on the wildlife and scenery that surround us on every side. We will provide the opportunity to purchase local produce from our neighbouring farms, and to learn about the history and culture of our special part of England – a part associated with some of the greatest names in our literature, such as Thomas Hobbes, John Aubrey and Joseph Addison, and which is now home to the novelists V.S. Naipaul and Ian McEwan, the painter (famous for his apple trees) David Inshaw, and many other artists, writers and musicians who have come to understand how precious is our little corner, and how easy it is to be at home here.
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