Anna Lamotte from Guardswell Farm on the joys of autumn and the season’s abundance of apples.
Rosehips and rowan, and mushrooms in paddocks. Elder and brambles, and wading through thickets. Pots overflowing with bubbling jams, these are a few of the… reasons we love autumn!
From the vibrant emergence of spring, through to the sunny abundance of summer – we have now gently stepped into autumn.
Truly one of our favourite seasons – one for picking berries, hoarding nuts, collecting windfall apples – and filling up the stores for winter.
This year we have the wonderful Diggers Cider on the farm at Guardswell – beautiful, truly Scottish, naturally produced cider.
Digby harvests his apples from forgotten, or excess to requirement, trees around the Carse of Gowrie and Perthshire – diligently moving from walled garden to ancient orchard, seeking out their precious spherical, juice-filled crops.
But in years to come, his newly-planted apple trees (in their thousands) will also be producing.
Exciting time for cider
It’s an exciting time for cider in Scotland – with the likes of Naughton (Balmerino), Cairn O Mhor (Errol), Caledonian Cider, Novar (both up near Inverness), and Dour (Aberdour) producing some exciting tasting glassfuls – as well as specialist, and really pretty awesome, cider shops like Aeble in Anstruther.
Bite of orchard’s history
The Carse of Gowrie, of course, is no stranger to the apple tree. It was a rich commercial apple growing area until the 1960s, when imports became cheaper and agricultural practices shifted.
The Carse was once home to more than 50 orchards as well as some pretty special varietals such as the Bloody Ploughman, an apple named after a ploughman who was shot dead by a gamekeeper at Megginch Castle, Errol, for helping himself to the fruit.
If you fancy a real deep dive into Carse Orchard history – you can read the wonderful study by Crispin Hayes from 2007.