Last week a friend of mine send me a tekst; you make a lot of pies right? Need an apple? And she send me this photo.
And of course we make a lot of cakes at BitterSweetz. Every day again. The apple pie, in particular, always goes really fast. So you understand that I was immediately enthusiastic. The apples are not bought at any farmer or supermarket, but hang on the trees in the garden of Immy and her family. If I count correctly, they have 6 apple trees, a plum tree and a walnut tree. The dream of many a person. I told her I’d come the next day to pick some apples with Immy. I had never done that before! It is great exercise and so good it is grown without the use of any pesticides.
A number of apples already fel of the tree. We checked these one by one on rotten places or little holes that could contain bugs. These were placed separately to end up on the compost heap later. We put the good apples in a wheelbarrow.
With a long stick with a sort of basket attached to it we were able to pick the apples in the high places. It is quite difficult to remove the apples from the branches with such a long stick, to catch them in the basket and then to get them into the wheelbarrow without batting. Good for the arm muscles. We alternated with each other; when Immy removed the apples from the lower hanging branches by hand, I used the long stick and vice versa. Then we were well balanced. A big job but also wonderfully relaxing and pleasant. Picking with a bucket in hand. Fortunately we had the sun, that made it all the better!
It is a big job for such a city person as I to recognize all the fruit and give it a name. I therefore asked which brand we were picking. The beautiful James Grieves. Apples from the past, I remembered the name and Immy told me that they are no longer sold because they are susceptible to beating, bruising and therefore cannot be sold. With transport there is a good chance that this will happen, so that is why they were removed from the shelves in the supermarkets. A shame, because they are delicious apples!
What is the James Grieve?
James Grieve is an apple variety that originated in Scotland around 1890. It owes its name to the grower James Grieve. The apple is a cross between the Pott’s Seedling and Cox’s Orange Pippin. The apples are yellow with red stripes and sometimes a red blush. The James Grieve is a juicy apple with a slightly sour taste. In the 1920s, the breed won prestigious prizes in England. This was an important basis for his fame in Europe. She pushed the Early Victoria off the shelves and variety lists. James Grieve was finally grown throughout Europe in the last century. The apples had a large defect: they could not stand it. They were therefore carefully brought to urban consumers, often in straw-filled baskets. The apple does not like hot, dry weather. They can turn yellow and fall early of the trees.
What do we do with it at BitterSweetz?
With 3 bags full of these delicious apples (I had already tasted one when we drank a cup of tea) I went back to The Hague. As happy as a small child and so proud of the apple tree that has given us such beautiful fruits. I was able to deliver them without any bruises, just lift it very carefully and then put it in a smaller bag so that I could take it on my bike today to bake that delicious apple pie and to squeeze fresh apple juice. Just bliss. Because the apples are a bit small, I used 10 (!) pieces in the cake and 4 pieces to squeeze for a glass of apple juice. We can still go a little ahead with this load in the next 3 weeks so come and taste it if you can!