Thursday, 20 October 2011

Apple Day (21st October)

I've got apples on my mind (again) which is just as well as its Apple Day this Friday 21st October. Got any plans?
It occurs to me that Apple Day is such a great idea, why didn't we realise it was missing from our lives sooner? Apples are such everyday objects that we take for granted the fact that we can, and jolly well well should, celebrate them. 'A is for apple' has be one of the the earliest things we learn. 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' is a proverb we repeat to remind ourselves to eat well in order to stay healthy. Adam and Eve's moment came after eating a stolen apple... do you see what I mean? When did you last stop and fully contemplate the apple, the relationship and affect it has had on humanity. Our relationship with it goes back for thousands of years, its stronger than ever and we still love them.

Time taken to celebrate everything great about apples is a masterstroke idea and maybe I could go so far as to suggest something we owe nature herself? Aren't simple ideas always the best ones. For 22 years Apple Day has been gathering pace and is now bigger than it ever has been. It was an idea that came from Sue Clifford and Angela King at Common Ground ...  

"The aspiration was to create a calendar custom. We have a way to go yet, but some already think the event is traditional. We should like the day to become the autumn holiday – what better celebration of a new era positively linking culture with nature.
From the start, it was intended to be both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing – not simply in apples, but richness and diversity of landscape, place, ecology and culture too. Its success has shown what the apple means to us and how much we need local celebrations in which, year after year, everyone can be involved. In city, town and country, Apple Day events have fostered local pride, celebrated and deepened interest in local distinctiveness."

Recently BBC4 aired a fantastic documentary Apples: British to the Core where they highlighted Britains particular role in the modern evolution of the apple. It really is worth a watch if you missed it, I know many people enjoyed it. I like to think I inspire the people responsible for the photography of programmes like that, I hope I do.

Apple Day is itself an opportunity for celebration through theatre, fun, education, and provenance. Its a PR dream for genus Malus and is a chance to play and reflect simultaneously. Cider has two occasions annually where the producers and partakers get together and make the time to celebrate cider - Apple Day being one of them, albeit slightly less raucous and more wholesome than Wassail (the other occasion.) Maybe the natural appeal of apples in general has a calming influence over mans hand in the creation and celebration of cider?

I am lucky enough to get invited to Burrow Hill annually where they always lay on a great day where everyone is free to have as much fun and drink as much as they like. Last year Alex James (Blur) was sleb in attendance, but in previous years we've had MP's (Graeme Watson), writers (Tom Parker-Bowles) and regional success stories Michael Brown (a la Brown & Forrest) as well as other nationally known foodie and Somerset types. This year we have Mark Hix and a chance to witness the launch coolest label I've seen in ages designed by Damien Hirst for Somerest Cider Brandy Companys fantastic 20 year old (and recently PGI accredited) cider brandy -there are only 500 limited edition labels up for grabs. Crappy phone snap of it here...

Its saying something when one of the reach of one of the worlds most internationally renowned and controversial artists casts his gaze towards Cider and leaves a part of himself here in Somerset. I think I'm right in saying he is from the Westcountry... maybe he too has a softspot for apples?
Next time you eat one (or see a piece of art by Damien Hirst) pause for a thought about apples, their long relationship with humanity, many uses and just how fantastic they are. They deserve a moment to savour and are something teach our younger loved ones about.


  1. Happy Apple Day to you.
    I wish I could raise a glass of cider, but am away working, I will have to settle myself with a glass of apple juice and an apple.
    But I know I have 40 litres of lovely cider bubbling away at home :)

  2. Crikey Bill, you've mixing with the stars haven't e?

    Jamie Chopper Reid!