Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Picking the Mayor's Pears

Best Place For Them!
Several friends of mine have recently expressed an interest in brewing cider. As a result, the Mansbridge Community Orchard cider press has been working overtime. We pressed another 15 gallons of juice this weekend.
My chums used fruit they had picked from home and I had some left over from a quick trip up the Southampton Little Common with my friend Andy. It is always a good plan to have a variety of in your ingredients and so, I  added a few pears I found lying about in the kitchen. Andy did make his own cider press, but the bottle jack employed in its construction, proved too powerful for the frame! He kindly donated his excess fruit to the Mansbridge Community Orchard Apple Day.
Andy Goes Ape
After a busy morning juicing apples, we took a trip with the children to explore Peartree Green, where a work-colleague had reported seeing lots of loaded apple trees.
Hard Work but Great Fun
Our first port of call though was my daughters favourite “snack pear” tree, planted by the Mayor of Southampton several decades ago. As it turned out, there were not many pears on the tree; either it was a bad year or someone had been there first. The kids enjoyed it none the less.
Look Out, They Have Escaped!
After hiking about Peartree Green for a while and asking a few locals, we spotted a big tree that was filled with fruit; we circled around the bramble barriers until we found a path in and the kids were soon scurrying up and around the branches. These were lovely tangy red eaters that tasted a bit like sweet Coxes. Despite the bramble scars and stinging nettle welts, we filled a couple of large bags. This was about as heavy a load as we could climb back up the hill with. Apparently, there are loads more trees that we failed to locate.

Most of this little lot will go into lunch boxes and the apple store, as they look like they will keep well. We grabbed a few little pears off the Mayor’s tree before heading back home, pausing only to buy a bag of charcoal for the last bbq (probably) of the year.
The Mayor's Pears

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