Isle of Wight Apple People and Places

Shalfleet Apple Day

This was the first Apple Day to be held on the Isle of Wight for some time and Chloe Sutherland, whose idea it was hopes that Apple Day at Shalfleet will become an annual event as everyone enjoyed it so much. Chloe tells me that in the first place Shalfleet Parochial Church Council applied for a grant from West Wight Landscape Partnership to repair the old Village hall which had become very dilapidated. Chloe was lead person for the Grant application. The hall is managed by a sub-group - the Hall Steering group of people from the Church and others - it remains the property of the church but is to be used by the whole community. Chloe was offered another grant for the field in which it stood.  There were a few old fruit trees at the top of the field where the vicarage vegetable garden had once been and the plan is to turn the overgrown field into a small orchard.  The brambles and scrub have been cleared and with the remains of the grant from the hall repairs a native species hedge has been planted with a crab apple and a local plum as standards.

Chloe asked for donations to the orchard at Apple Day and was pleasantly surprised at the result.  The fruit from the orchard will be used for the community lunches which are held in the hall every month or distributed locally in return for donations towards the upkeep of the hall

                                 Martin                                                                                Cass

Shalfleet Community Apple Day – What we did – article sent to me by Gwen Bevington
We advertised as widely as we could and were delighted by the interest people showed from the start. Then the day came…
…Saturday 19th October, 9am: People from Newbridge get up early to set things out in the Hall, and find Claudine’s recycling box full of apples on the doorstep. Martin and Roma have brought a van-ful: apples and an apple press, and heavy implements to bash the apples. Karen puts the kettle on. Hilary the Lunch brings apple-based food and a camera.  Bags and boxes appear – Annie Elizabeth, Ribston Pippin, Orleans Reinette, Blenheim Orange, St Edmund’s Russet, Ashmead’s Kernel, Egremont Russet, Laxton’s Superb, Ross Nonpareil, Bramleys a-plenty – just for starters; and many more named varieties and unidentified apple objects.
10.30am: Official Opening time. A few people turn up. Elaine brings the wonderful apple-tree poem Linden Lea by William Barnes, beautifully inscribed.  
11-11.30: The Hall is full! People enjoy looking at apples, picking them up, feeling them, swapping them, getting rid of them, acquiring them. They also enjoy the apple juice which is pouring out from Martin’s press almost by the gallon.
Apple concoctions appear, as people leave apple cakes, apple pies and apple puddings on the table for refreshments.

Karen’s teapot is pouring constantly. Hilary is on enthusiastic overtime operating the dishwasher.
12-2 More tea, more dishwashing, more apple-juice making and tasting. Some people drift off home, others stay for lunch of soups (parsnip and apple, curried pea and apple, carrot cashew and apple), fresh home-made bread, cheeses, apple-and-celery salad – supplemented of course by apple puds and pies.
The afternoon is quieter, but still more people come who haven’t made the morning.  
An influx of children surround Martin, standing on wobbly chairs, nearly falling into the apple press, health and safety gloriously disregarded. Karen nurses her teapot, not daring to sit down in case she can’t get up.
She says, “What can we suggest for the next project – a root-vegetable day?” Within five minutes Thorley visitors offer to help put on a potato day!
So look out for 2014 events: September, Potato day; October, Second Apple Day.
Donations to Apple Day totalled over £150, and will go to help maintain the field. Many thanks to all who thought and planned, shared and gave, poured and washed, cooked and served, pummelled and pressed, looked and learned. How good it was to have a day for the community, focused on a subject we all know something but not everything about. The idea clearly caught people’s imagination. Next time, I’ll definitely make sure some of my own apples get pressed, tasted, compared and logged.  

 The apple press outside the Village Hall