Essential Facts

Apples Facts

"No fruit is more to our English taste than the Apple. Let the Frenchman have his Pear, the Italian his Fig, the Jamaican may retain his farinaceous Banana, and the Malay his Durian, but for us the Apple" Edward Bunyard

  • Apple trees were probably introduced to Britain by the Romans, and were so revered that they acquired their own deity - the goddess Pomona.
  • "Ten raw apples a day" was the proscribed intake to aid the 16th century monk's digestion during Lent
  • Apple dumplings and pickled pork was a favourite meal of 18th century yeoman farmers, and the Bedfordshire ‘clanger' - a pasty with meat at one end and chopped apple at the other - filled the lunch bags of the peasants.
  • The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent  currently comprises nearly 2000 varieties of apple.

Hop Facts

"No survey of the natural wealth and industries of England can be regarded as complete which does not include an account of the cultivation and drying of hops" George Clinch

  • The hop (‘Humulus Lupulus') belongs to the Cannabinacae family, which also includes Indian hemp.
    The name hop derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘hoppan' meaning ‘to climb'.
  • One of the earliest recorded references to the hop was in the 6th century BC; the Roman writer Pliny (AD 23-79) described the hop as ‘the wolf of the willow', for it was as destructive ‘as a wolf on the flock' to willow plantations.
  • The accounts for a Royal banquet hosted by Henry VIII at Windsor Park in 1528 show provision for 15 gallons of beer at 20d (8p) and 15 gallons of ale at 2s 6d (12½p) 
  • By the 16th century England was exporting considerable amounts of beer. The huge demands for coppice poles for hop gardens and oak casks to supply the brewing industry prompted the first plans for timber conservation.
  • So profitable was hop growing that in 1603 an Act of Parliament was passed to address cheaters who left ‘stalks, leaves, dross and other soils' in with their hops to increase the weight.
  • In 1848 large numbers of ladybirds were brought in to keep down hop flies and increase yields, something we are doing once more in the organic garden.

Pear Facts

"I have heard it said by an Englishman that the matter is really very simple: there are but two classes of Pears - those that taste of hairwash and those that do not" Edward Bunyard

  • The first Doyenne du Comice tree (surely the queen of pears and very definitely not tasting of hairwash!) grew from a pear seed discarded on the banks of the Loire.
  • Pears do not appear in the Bible, but are mentioned in the Oddyssey.
  • The Domesday Book of 1086 mentions pear trees as boundary markers.
  • The names of some perry pears - those grown for fermentation - reflect their use; Merrylegs, Mumblehead, Lumberskull, Drunkers and Devildrink to name but a few!

Plum Facts

"For hungry holiday-makers fresh from the toilsome tutelary, for bands of Hope, gatherings of the Faithful, and other charitable occasions, Victoria finds a welcome "in the raw"; but at home - to the kitchen with it." Edward Bunyard

  • Plums are first recorded in the 479BC writings of Confucius
  • The Crusaders brought plums to Europe
  • In 1927, a magnificent steam train - the pride of the Great Western Railway - was named ‘The Pershore Plum' to celebrate the centenary of this fine variety
  • Our forebears were reliant on natural cures for most ailments and as Peter Treueris writes in his herbal in 1526: Plomes; They have vertue to smothe and polyshe y bowelles.
  • The variety Victoria, now the most well known British plum, sprung from a chance seedling from a garden in Alderton, Sussex.