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The Tuesday tree: Breton apples

July 19, 2011

Hello again! We are just back from Finistère in Brittany, where we had a lovely family holiday of sandcastle-building, crêpe-eating and menhir-hugging. I’d love to share a little of this with you soon. Today, however, it’s tree day.

Our base for the holiday was a little farm cottage, converted from the cart horse’s stable. The cart horse was no longer resident – just as well, as it might have found the stairs a problem – but the land is still run as a small-holding. Our boys had a lovely time collecting eggs in the mornings and investigating the hidden corners of the farm, all under the patient eye of our patron. One day they returned with a handful of ripe blackberries. Ripe blackberries? In mid July? In Scotland, these are a September delicacy. Everything seems out of time this year: the fruit is ahead of itself throughout Britain and apparently in France too, after our hot spring and wet summer. What you need with brambles, of course, is apples, to make the classic blackberry and apple pie. And lo, what should I notice on the farm one day but a little apple tree,

with, to my amazement, ripening apples on it. (I mean, I wasn’t amazed that an apple tree should have apples, but that they were going red already. Erm, right, glad that’s straight.)



On the whole, though, I was glad that they weren’t yet quite ready to eat. Autumnal blackberry and apple pie after a sunny day at the beach would have been just a bit weird. Perhaps the farmer will make some delicious Breton cider from them, after we holidaymakers have left him in peace.

You can read about Normandy apples in Au pays des pommes.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. maryz permalink
    July 19, 2011 1:42 pm

    I did love menhir-hugging in Brittany (our week was based in Pont Aven).

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      July 19, 2011 4:48 pm

      We saw some very serious menhir-huggers while we were there! I kept expecting Obelix to appear from behind one.

  2. July 19, 2011 4:04 pm

    Glad you had a great holiday and didn’t get blown or washed away, DB. The weather in NW France has been changeable and cool recently, to say the least. Yes, the brambles are ripening here too (weeks earlier than usual) though the apples aren’t yet quite ready to go with them.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      July 19, 2011 4:51 pm

      Well, I must say, we felt quite at home there, what with heather on the headlands and horizontal rain at times. But two sunny days made it feel like a holiday, and the Breton coast is so pretty in any weather. (Although – whisper it – I don’t think their cider and cheese is as good as Normandy’s!)

  3. hmunro permalink
    July 19, 2011 6:11 pm

    Welcome home, DB! Wonderful to hear some of the highlights from your trip … and equally lovely to read your horticultural musings as well. I hope you had your fill of blackberries, and here’s a toast to the promise of some fall apple cider!

  4. July 22, 2011 11:36 am

    I’ve just returned from Guernsey and there were ripening blackberries in the hedgerows too! Glad you had a good hols though.

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