After visiting a number of orchards, we were struck by the number of crab apple trees.
Most rows of fruit trees had a crab apple standing 'sentinel' at either end, and some were even interspersed throughout. Their fruit; tiny, bullet hard, brightly hued and mouth puckeringly sharp.
These trees are very important to a good harvest as they produce a large amount of blossom ahead of the fruit trees, which remains on the branches through the blossom season in Spring.
Local bees, hoverflies and other pollinators are then attracted to the orchard by the blossom. They feed on the pollen found within the flowers and as they move from tree to tree, branch to branch and flower to flower they carry pollen on their legs, pollinating the other trees. This process is crucial to fruit production: and the more blossom on the orchard, the more pollinators, the more fruit in the Autumn.
However, other than hard-core jelly makers, the plucky crab-apple has few uses, and the majority are left to fall to the ground.
So that's why we decided to pick and blend some slightly sweeter, late-season, Red Sentinel crabapples with Ashmead's Kernel, both from Standen Orchard in Kent.
It's given this press a little bite!