Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Food for free.

I think I can say with certainty thank goodness, that nobody who reads this blog is so poor that they cannot put food on their table.   And yet I think I can also say that there is something quite exciting about any food we get for free.

Today we had mushrooms on toast for tea with yet another crop of field mushrooms.   They taste altogether different from the bought variety and they were delicious.   

On Thursday the farmer's niece is coming to lunch and I shall make a blackberry and apple crumble - the blackberries being wild ones from the hedges in our own fields (the farmer picked about twelve pounds in all this year).   As for the apples, well here is the story.

Before the farmer's mother passed away someone bought for her an espallier apple tree which she had planted along the wall in the front garden.   But as she aged and could no longer garden, it began to run wild and was not pruned.   By the time I came along and took over the garden it was a complete mess, so the farmer decided to  saw it off almost at ground level, which he did.

Over the past few years it has grown one long, straight 'trunk' and this year it actually looks like a young apple tree.   What a surprise when it produced eight large cooking apples.  I shall be using the last of these in that crumble.

There is nowhere in the world (well, maybe New England) where Autumn is so perfect on a good day as it is here in the UK.   And this week has just been a succession of such days.   Warm sunshine, slight haze and hints of colours to come in the turning leaves.

Today friend W and I went for a spot of retail therapy - friend W found little to buy, I found trousers and a warm sweater.   But we had a lovely journey (W is a jolly good, confident driver and a pleasure to drive with) and a lovely cup of coffee in the M and S cafe afterwards.

Now I am sitting here enjoying a beautiful sunset through the hall window as I type this.   It can't be bad can it?  And outside the window, in the paddock, the last of the sun's rays are falling on the remaining red apples on another apple tree.  Nobody knows where it came from but it is certainly quite a sight.  Tomorrow I shall go out and try one of the apples to see if they taste as good as they look.


20 comments:

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

These two examples of free food sound lovely! But I must say that northeast Ohio on the south shores of Lake Erie is certainly the equal (at the least) of New England for beautiful autumn days.......It is just at the very very beginning, and it's true that today is a bit rainy - but we needed rain. We have mostly sunny days and the fall foliage is glorious. I live minutes from the Cuyahoga Valley Nation Park.
https://www.google.com/search?q=cuyahoga+valley+national+park+autumn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAWoVChMI09et4_CcyAIVBPM-Ch1KawiI&biw=1920&bih=922

Wilma said...

I remember some fantastic autumn days in NE Georgia, but I am happier here in the subtropics these days. Free food seems to taste better, especially if you get to harvest it yourself. We have a most prolific lime tree. The closest we have growing to apple is a banana called apple banana; nothing it all like a commercial banana. It has a nice tanginess to it. I have several bunches ripening now. Enjoy your wonderful autumn days. The blackberry crumble sounds delicious.

Joanne Noragon said...

Well worn phrase, but true--it is bucolic old England as the rest of know it.

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful stories about free food, especially the apple tree of Farmers Mum's.
Every time you write about apples I am envious.
I can only buy apples at the market and when you write about all the different varieties I wish I could taste one.

cheers, parsnip

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Haven't managed to get myself any blackberries yet, and am now probably too late. I haven't noticed many around to be honest, and people get wiser and wiser every year...my folks' tree should provide some good apples again.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Lovely apple tree story. If you should ever happen to be in the Pacific Northwest you'd find our falls almost exactly the same as yours. Our weather seems to be quite similar most of the year though I think you get more snow that we do (and I shan't complain about that). The maples are turning brilliant red right now - and floating their bright leaves down onto our deck and yard. Aspens and cottonwoods will soon follow with wide swaths of bright yellow. Just a few miles south of here they don't have such color, or such luxurious autumn days. I sat on the deck today and shucked corn from a local farm stand. They say they will have corn until frost - which I hope is a ways off yet, the corn has been scrumptious this year - and we are still getting peaches from the farm stand - each week we think it will be the last - but they continue on.

Dawn McHugh said...

I love wild mushrooms, fried with a bit of garlic in butter, we have a couple of straggly apple trees here, I am going to give them a short back and sides and see how they do :-)

Bovey Belle said...

I have the freezer(s) bulging with blackberries at last and saw some FABULOUS ones - but hanging over our stream with no way for me to reach them - which is probably why they are so good, nothing can get to them!

We have our own apple trees too, so apples are "free" food for us. I have lots of windfalls at present so will bake a couple of cakes with those and start making the Mincemeat, which is apple-based.

Now the local crab apple tree has been annihalated (a pox on them) I war mourning its loss and mentioned it to a friend who has a tree bordering one of her fields so she is going to bring me a bagful so I CAN have crab apple jelly after all.

Heather said...

I'm sure it isn't just the fact that they are free that makes field mushrooms and hedgerow blackberries taste so good. I used to pick 6lbs of blackberries in one session from the hedges in our little paddock. Its one of the things I really miss now we have moved away. Supermarket ones are passable but just don't have the depth of flavour. Your cooking apples are very special - how nice that the tree is fruiting once more. We are enjoying these lovely days and hoping for a few more. The leaves are beginning to turn and quite a few have fallen but the afternoons feel more like summer than autumn.

Mac n' Janet said...

Food we've grown always tastes better to me. Sounds like you're having a beautiful autumn, our summer keeps lingering and won't give autumn much room to seep in.

Cro Magnon said...

We had some Parasol Mushrooms with our dinner last night; one of the treasures of Autumn.

The History Anorak said...

I was fascinated last week to see 'stepover' trees on Gardeners' World. I always assumed my garden was too small to have apple trees but I'm going to watch out for these lovely, short ones. You're lucky to have the space for free food in your garden!

Gwil W said...

I stopped eating mushrooms when I read a few years ago that restaurants were not allowed to sell wild boar in nearby Bavaria because of Chernobyl radiation contamination. Wild boar as you know are always rooting in the earth which is where the radiation fallout takes longest to disperse.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

The hedgerows have been generous this year. Cannot say the same for the fields as I have picked a total of FOUR mushrooms!
We have basketfuls of apples, as it has been such a good year for us apple-wise.
Love your apple story.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks everyone. I must say that I rather like the sound of those apple bananas of Wilma's- would need to go out there to taste them though.

Also Gwil's cautionary tale is a sign of the times isn't it?

Midmarsh John said...

No blackberry pie here. I have never seen them so small in spite of the rain and heavy dews.

Countryside Tales said...

Apples are doing well here this year too-our lovely old tree is stuffed with them. Love food for free straight from nature :o)

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