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Gardening: An apple a day . . .

Launched by conservation charity Common Ground in 1990, National Apple Day has been celebrated across the country every October since. Here are five of the finest events on our patch.

Ely Apple Festival

Apple-and-spoon racing, a longest peel contest, an apple shy: running since 2000, Ely’s Apple Festival is known as one of the most fun and family-friendly. As well as playing the themed games, visitors can bring apples along to be identified by experts from the East of England Apples & Orchards Project; learn about apples, juice and cider with the Watergull Orchards team; and sample all kinds of appley edibles, from classic pork and apple sausages to quirky apple flavoured teas. There’s Morris dancing, a birds of prey display and storytelling sessions, too.

* Palace Green, Ely, Saturday, October 19, 10am-4pm. See visitely.org.uk/whats-on

Burwash Manor Apple Day

Always a tasty tribute, Burwash Manor’s Apple Day event is famed for its food and drink: you can watch cookery demos, sample cider, eat apple treats and stock your larder from the produce stalls. Full details of this year’s event have yet to be confirmed, but visitors can expect themed arts and crafts for little ones, the chance to take farm tours by tractor and trailer, and a selection of live entertainment: last year’s event included falconry and willow-weaving demos and a steel band. Plus the day raises funds for good causes.

* Burwash Manor, Barton, Saturday, October 12, times TBC. See http://www.burwashmanor.com/event/apple-day-2019/

background texture of multi-colored apples stacked on the market counter (17395829)
background texture of multi-colored apples stacked on the market counter (17395829)

Cambridge University Botanic Garden Apple Day

Billed as the region’s biggest Apple Day celebration, the Botanic Garden’s line-up includes the chance to taste more than two dozen locally-grown heritage varieties, have your homegrown fruit ID-ed by experts, and learn how best to plant and prune your own trees. A marquee on the main lawn houses a food and drink market, where you can try and buy hedgerow cordials, fruit-infused spirits, chocolates, cheeses, speciality teas and, of course, apple juices and ciders. There’s also art and craft stalls, hands-on activities for children, live music and street food.

* Brookside, Cambridge, Sunday, October 20, 10am-4pm. Tickets, which it’s wise to buy in advance to avoid queues on the day, are on sale now. See botanic.cam.ac.uk/whats-on/apple-day

A Celebration of Apples, Ickworth

This is one for the foodies. The Living History cooks at Ickworth, the National Trust estate near Bury, will be marking Apple Day by cooking up apple recipes from the 1930s. Visitors can see behind the scenes in the kitchen, chat to the cooks and hear from food historian Ivan Day.

* Ickworth Park, Horringer, Wednesday, October 23, noon-4pm. See nationaltrust.org.uk/ickworth/whats-on

Wandlebury Apple Day

Co-hosted by local green group 2G3S, Wandlebury’s Apple Day line-up includes guided walks around the country park led by Orchards East, whose team will also be offering advice on caring for and cropping from fruit trees and identifying visitors’ homegrown fruit (and nuts, too). You can get your own apples juiced, enjoy food and drink tastings, pick up recipes, browse stalls and even try your hand at archery.

* Wandlebury Park, Cambridge, Saturday, October 5, 1pm-4pm. See cambridgeppf.org/whats-on

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