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Faversham: Harvest time with the National Apple Festival at Brogdale

By Angela Cole

Hundreds of different apple varieties will be rolling in to the Brogdale National Apple Festival in Faversham this weekend.

There will be different shapes, sizes and colours, of the fruit from the site's National Fruit Collection, which has more than 2,200 different varieties of apples and 550 pears.

Visitors will be able to sample and buy different varieties over the weekend, on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14, and thanks to a good crop this year, they will be in abundance.

Kelly Burrows with Brogie the Brogdale Terrier at last year's apple festival. Picture: Tony Flashman
Kelly Burrows with Brogie the Brogdale Terrier at last year's apple festival. Picture: Tony Flashman

Brogdale farm manager, Nigel Baker, said: “It’s quite a feat to put so many apples on display at once for the National Apple Festival. Picking enough apple varieties for a display this large begins in August.”

There will be guided walking and tractor trailer tours around the collections, giving visitors an insight into the unique collection, which originated back in the early days of the RHS some 200 years ago and has existed at Brogdale Farm since 1952.

Jim Arbury, RHS fruit and trials specialist will join Joan Morgan in identifying apples over the weekend with a team of experts while there will be local bands playing live, with Faversham Brass will finish off the Sunday afternoon in traditional style.

Elizabeth, five and Ieva Kristolde inspect one of the displays at the apple festival last year Picture: Chris Davey
Elizabeth, five and Ieva Kristolde inspect one of the displays at the apple festival last year Picture: Chris Davey

Fruit themed cooking demonstrations will entertain throughout the weekend including smoked delights from the Woodchurch Smokery and Tiddly Pomme and the Kent Cider Company will offer local ciders made with fruit from the collection.

Visitors can take the challenge of some of the traditional eating competitions including eating an apple from a string.

Like apple bobbing, the practice dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain, when they merged their celebrations with traditional Celtic festivals.

There will also be free apple activities for little ones such as apple craft, the longest apple peel and pressing their own apple juice or preparing a baked apple. There will also be falconry displays, a bouncy castle, rural crafts and Stuart Ovenden, author of Orchard Cook, will be signing copies of his first book on the Saturday. On sale will also be produce from homemade preserves to nuts, handmade fudge and fruit inspired jewellery.

For tickets and more information, go to brogdalecollections.org

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