Cobwebs appeared on the box hedge bordering our apple trees this week. The webs were picked out in dew and have, of course, been there for weeks but invisible in the warm weather. The cooler damp air brings on thoughts of making apple crumble from our crop. Back in spring we planted a tree called Keswick Coddling which is a variety local to our area. It's an apple that is pale green, matt rather than shiny and rather oblong in shape. I can see why it might not be the first choice if there was room for just one apple tree in a garden. However, the label, which is still attached, says it cooks to a lovely creamy texture and requires hardly any sugar so I decided to use these apples for a first crumble. It's claims with regard to requiring less sugar I took with some scepticism having taken a bite out of one of the seven or so fruits on the new tree. However, to my delight, the apples do cook to a frothy cream and need less added sugar than Bramleys which I usually reserve for crumbles. Then there's thoughts of toffee apples way ahead in Autumn...it's not so bad the end of summer and the start of a new season after all....

To ensure next years harvest, I like to give the trees a treat and make sure they have everything they need for over-wintering. To do this, we mulch them with Lakeland Gold having first cleared the long grass from around the base of each trunk and apply about two inches of the good stuff. It's my way of saying 'thank you' as we harvest the apples and enjoy the fruits of our joint labours.

Juliet, Dalefoot Farm

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Barker and Bland is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Dalefoot Farm, Heltondale, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2QL. Registered number: 8312959

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