When deciding what apple trees to plant there are two decision to make. Firstly you must choose the root stock , which is the rooting system, and the stub of the tree. This will determine the height and vigour of the tree. Secondly you choose the scion, which will form the upper trunk and the branches and will determine the variety of apple to be produced. These two elements are then grafted together to form the tree. If you look carefully it is still possible to see where the trees are grafted about 15cm above the ground where the tree bulges.
Copas Farms only grow apples at Calves Lane Farm and this orchard is approximately thirty five years old. The orchard originally contained Discovery, Cox and Bramley varieties. However, about twenty years ago, the Katy variety was introduced by top-working the Katy wood into some of the existing Cox trees. This is a process of grafting a new variety onto a mature tree. As a result it is possible to find the odd Cox apple growing on the Katy apples trees.
As the trees grow they will be pruned regularly to reduce the height and create a good shaped tree. Pruning generally takes place over the Winter months as they are less susceptible to disease through the cuts.
Growing apples commercially usually takes an intensive spray programme to control disease but at Copas Farms we reduce this to a bare minimum to suit our customers PYO needs and because a significant proportion of our apples are used for juicing.
VARIETIES GROWN IN THE COPAS FARMS PICK YOUR OWN ORCHARDS:
- Cooking Apples: Bramley.
- Eating Apples: Katy (early season), Discovery (mid season) and Cox (mid/late season).
PICKING AND STORING
- Do not climb trees or break branches.
- Choose firm apples and pick by turning the apple until it breaks from the stem.
- Best stored in a cool place until ready to use.
- Suitable for freezing once cooked.
Delicious and crunchy apples are a great favourite of the health conscious. In addition to containing a high source of dietary fibre apples are packed with rich phyto-nutrients that are indispensable for optimal health, going some way towards justifying the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
- Archeologists have found evidence that humans have enjoyed eating apples since at least 6500 B.C. with the first apple tree originating from an area between the Caspian and the Black Sea.
- Apples were taken to North America by European settlers.
- Apples are a member of the rose family.
- Around 2,300 kinds of apples of many different colours, shapes, textures and tastes, have been bred in Britain.
- It takes energy from fifty leaves to produce one apple.
- Fresh apples float because 25% of their volume is air (hence why they prove good for apple bobbing!).
- Planting an apple seed from a particular apple will not produce a tree of that same variety.
- It is believed that the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” originated in Wales in the 19th Century. It is thought to have originated from the February 1866 edition of “Notes and Queries” magazine which included: “A Pembrokeshire proverb – Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread. A number of variant of the rhyme were in circulation around the turn of the 20th Century including the first known mention of the version we use now which comes from “Rustic Speech and Folk-lore”: “Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, an’ you’ll make the doctor beg his bread.” Sadly eating apples doesn’t guarantee this, but they do have a nutritional value which helps promote good health.
COOKING AND EATING
There are the two types of apples – eating and culinary (cooking) apples.
Eaters are sweeter, with their sugars balanced by an edge of acidity, and these tend to have the most interesting flavours. They hold their shape well in cooking making them a good choice for a French apple tart tatin.
Culinary (Cooking) apples are larger and more acidic. Their sourness mellows upon cooking but, depending on your sweet tooth, sugar is usually added when used in cooking. The most popular British culinary apple is the Bramley apple, one grown in the Copas Farms’ orchards.
Serve caramelised apple slices with fatty meats such as pork to offset the richness or use them in baking pies, tarts and puddings with a touch of cinnamon.