Last weekend we went to the apple tasting day at the Blackmoor Estate near Selborne in Hampshire, a fundraising event for local charities that’s been running for over 50 years! It was a beautiful day, chockablock with visitors but a great vibe nonetheless. Olive held a smooth snake and had her name carved into a willow pencil, and we all ate our body weight in apple and pear slices, jotting down our (very) amateur tasting notes as we went:
Tiffany Francis-Baker is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
After the busiest few months everrrr, it was lovely to spend a bright autumn morning doing something so simple and mindful: Learning how old varieties were grown back in the yesteryear times, tasting apple slices and trying to recognise the subtle differences between them, reading about cider pressing and orchard ecology. My dream is to keep my own orchard one day, not only to make my own cider, but because there’s something about an orchard that captures the cyclical fullness of life and death. Rotting windfall apples crawling with insects, foxes and badgers gorging on fruit, bees in the spring blossom and massive hornets bobbing about at dusk. And there’s nothing better than plucking apples fresh from the tree, each one bespoke with blemishes that supermarket apples don’t have. We left the farm with a big box of apple and cherry cider under one arm, which we’ve put aside for mulling later in the season. How cosy on a midwinter night to plop down beside the fire and enjoy a mug of warm cider, sharp and aromatic with nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.
Something I Made - A Cracking Time feature in Bloom magazine
I loved writing this piece on foraging for the latest issue of Bloom magazine, focusing on wild nuts, mast years and the autumn windfall. If you haven’t read this magazine I really recommend grabbing a copy, even if it’s just to flick through the thick, crispy pages. It’s a beautiful publication, full of all kinds of interesting features inspired by plants, botany and gardens.
Something I Like - Samhain Ceremonial Workshop with the Wild Academy
I’ve just booked onto this virtual workshop taking place on the evening of Tuesday 24th October. One of the women behind the Wild Academy, Eleanor, ran an autumn retreat I took part in a few years ago, and she has a really intuitive connection to the Wheel of the Year. This workshop will explore the origins and ancient practices associated with Samhain using a few different rituals, and also includes a playlist and guidebook to download. I can’t wait!
Recipe of the Week - No-Bake Carrot and Oat Bars
Another Riverford banger, this recipe is a great way to use up excess carrots. (Is there any time of year when carrots aren’t in season?!) They are really filling and a little bit naughty, but still full of goodness from the carrots, oats and walnuts.