Orchard Links, February 2024

Here’s another selection of orchard and fruit-growing news items and links of interest that I’ve come across this month.

In February’s round-up:

Long-Keeping Apples

Earlier this month I attended the rather superb Great Northern Fruit Moot 2023. One of the speakers on the day was Dale Edgar, an enthusiast for and collector of long-keeping apple varieties.

Dale has a website – longkeepingapples.com – that provides plenty of info on long-keepers and his project to develop an orchard of varieties that will stay on the tree long past the end of the calendar year. It’s a fascinating project, do take a look:

J. Sacadura on Air-Layering a Fruit Tree

Ahead of a second attempt to propagate a ‘Brown Turkey’ fig later in the year, I did a bit of research and came across this rather excellent explanatory video, in which J. Sacadura explains the process in clear, easy-to-follow steps, and applies it to multiple fruit tree species. Well worth a watch if you’re interested in learning the method:

East Malling Acquires Brogdale Farm

Via Brogdale Collections and BBC News, news that Brogdale Farm, home of the National Fruit Collection, has been purchased by NIAB – the National Institute of Agricultural Botany – who already own and manage the East Malling Trust.

Details are still slightly sketchy, but reading the press release, it seems that it’s just the farm property itself that has changed hands, and the actual collection itself will continue to be managed by the charity Brogdale Collections.

NIAB / East Malling Chairman of Trustees Dr Oliver Doubleday says the new parent organisation is “committed to preserving and enhancing the unique heritage of Brogdale Farm and its collection, and improving the visitor experience.” All of which sounds very promising indeed.

(Hat-tip @TheFruitGroup on Twitter)

Modern Medieval Apple Tart

Over on his Monk’s Modern Medieval Cuisine YouTube channel, Dr Christopher Monk has been making some delicious-looking medieval winter comfort in his latest video: ‘Tart of Applis’, a.k.a. ‘Tartys in Aplis’.

Christopher regularly uses fruit in his recipes and they always look incredibly tasty. Do subscribe to his channel if you’re at all interested in historical and/or fruit-based cookery.

Why Are Blueberries Blue?

Scientists at Bristol University have revealed the physiological cause of the blue colouration of blueberries and other fruits including damsons, sloes and juniper berries.

The team behind the discovery are hoping to use the knowledge to develop “more sustainable, biocompatible and even edible UV and blue-reflective paint.”

(Hat-tip: @damsonplums on Twitter)

That’s it for this month. If you have an orchard-related news item that you’d like me to mention next month, please get in touch, via the details on the contact info page.

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