By 8.30 it had stopped raining and I was on my way to an orchard with the trailer bumping quite happily behind me.
I was the first to arrive (thankfully), so I managed to get the turn round (by driving five miles past the orchard and finding a huge junction large enough for me and my trailer to do a ‘U’ turn!).
Soon two other cars with trailers arrived. Apple picking it appears is quite a logical task. Firstly all the windfalls are collected. If any apples are too rotten they are discarded, a little bruising adds to the flavour I was told!
The first bucket was weighed (hence the bathroom scales), 9 kilos.
An orange bucket was put beside each trailer. Each time a bucket was emptied into a trailer an additional apple must be placed in the orange bucket. At the end of the day the number of apples in the orange bucket would be multiplied by 9 kilos… and voila our total harvest calculated. So simple.
When all the windfalls had been collated, each tree was shaken, battered with large sticks until the precious fruit could hang on no longer! Once again we collected all the apples.
The sun shone. As I picked, I noticed some soft green fruits on the ground next to the cider apples I was collected. One of the skins of these green fruits had split to reveal a harder brown shell. It was a walnut. The brown shells were still pretty soft and I could crack them with my hand. Delicious walnuts. Would anyone mind if I diversified and picked a few walnuts as well ?…. Fantastic, a bucketful of walnuts.
On with the apples, the right mix of apples, some sweet and some cider apples.
By 2.00pm we had picked 1.2 tonnes (1,200kg) of apples…
Francois looked at the sky. ‘We need rain now’
‘To wash the apples.’
But… of course…..