It’s time to take a look back at another amazing year of the Food Plymouth All Ways Apples on Tour in 2021, funded by Plymouth City Council’s Green Minds project, Plymouth Commnity Homes, Nudge Community Builers and local Councillors in Ernesettle and Stonehouse.
Between September and December 2021 the All Ways Apples team took part in 24 community apple events, including:
– Visiting 12 community orchards
– Harvesting from trees across the city
– Facilitating activities in primary schools
– Pressing more than 600 litres of juice
– Pasteurising over 200 bottles of juice
– Supplying mulled juice at community events
– Sharing abundance with Time Banks and Food Banks
– Supporting 13 community groups in caring for their fruit trees
… and encouraging people to taste the wonderful fruit grown in the city, while reducing waste.
Plymouth City Council’s Green Minds project was our key funder this year, with additional funding from Plymouth Community Homes, Nudge Community Builders and local Councillors from Ernesettle and Stonehouse. A new collaboration involved Plymstock Doctors surgeries around a community growing initiative at Down Horn Park (Community Garden Design Group – Down Horn Park).
Building on the success of the ‘On Tour’ micro events in 2020, we visited more communities this year. Activities included tree care, harvesting, juicing and pasteurising. Much of the freshly pressed apple juice was enjoyed at the events, directly from the press. Fruit was harvested from all across the city and shared widely. We worked with orchard volunteers, encouraging new people to get involved in these wonderful spaces.
We hope that in 2022 we will be able to return to Devonport for our amazing All Ways Apples Festival main event while continuing to build community capacity through our ‘On Tour’ activities. If you would like to explore opportunities to make this happen, please get in contact with All Ways Apples Lead Tess Wilmot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07531506481.
The Food Plymouth All Ways Apples (AWA) team really appreciate the support and funding which made this exciting calendar of events possible during such challenging times. You can download the full report here in pdf format: All Ways Apples On Tour 2021 Report.
Read on for a timeline – and some fabulous photos – of the key events from 2021…
12th September – Union Street Party
Our first apple pressing of 2021 was a hectic day at Stonehouse Action’s Union Street Party! Lots of local people brought apples, keeping the press busy all day long. It was great to work with volunteers preparing the fruit, ready to be milled and pressed. The delicious fresh juice we made was enjoyed by all ages. Thanks to Nudge Community Builders for contributing to All Ways Apples again this year.
13th September – Keyham Green Places
We used some apples left over from the Union Street Party along with lots of windfalls from the lovely fruit trees at Keyham Green Places (KGP). The KGP team had the brilliant idea of freezing some of the juice in cups so they could share the abundance with people using their food bank over the following weeks.
27th September – Efford Valley Community Orchard
All Ways Apples has supported the Efford ValleyCommunity Orchard since it was planted some 10 years ago. We have also been supporting the Efford Time Bank in caring for the orchard for the past few years, along with Ryan Huws from Plymouth Community Homes.
The apple pressing event was most enjoyable again this year. Timebank members are always pleased to be invited to participate as it has something for everyone. I really enjoy harvesting the wind-fall apples and chatting to people from the area, promoting what I do! The fact that, regardless of age and ability, everyone can get involved and enjoy being a part of the process of juicing apples that are grown on their doorstep is wonderful. And getting a taster (of juice) just makes the session perfect!
Zoe Nile, Outreach Worker, Timebank South West
A special thanks to Dave Curno
Dave Curno, Chair of the Friends of Ham Woods and an active member of Plymouth Tree Partnership, has been a key figure in the All Ways Apples team for many years.
His support has been a vital part of many events, particularly over the last two years when he has enabled All Ways Apples to go on tour by providing the trailer and mobile pressing equipment.
In addition to co-facilitating all the events listed in this report, Dave took the pressing equipment to events at Sparkwell Primary School, an old orchard in Bere Ferrers and High View school in Efford.
He has also provided practical support throughout the year to many of the community groups and orchards in the city with the help of his useful range of equipment.
Thank you, Dave!
28th September – Ernesettle
The Ernesettle team harvested more apples than we could press – a whole trailer full! Cllr Mark Lowry joined us for the event and helped to make the juice along with the other volunteers. Cllr Lowry along with Cllr Pam Buchan supported this event from their Locality funding. This was much appreciated by the local residents. The Ernesettle team are well trained in orchard skills now and know the ropes… and insisted on pressing in spite of the heavy rain! They were very keen to make juice for their community events. Mulled apple juice was provided to three community events in Ernesettle in the lead-up to Christmas.
3rd October – Dangerous Dads at Ham Woods
For the second year, the Dangerous Dads and their children came to Ham Woods. We had seven dads and their children with Dangerous Dads facilitator Ian Blackwell. The group was divided into two, with each taking turns to explore Ham Woods and discover the apple trees. Most of the apples in the orchard had been harvested, so we had to find hidden apples trees and bring baskets of this fruit back to the trailer. Dangerous Dads are looking forward to holding regular events, exploring other green spaces in the city and returning to Ham Woods in the future.
9th October – Stonehall Flats Community Garden
It is always wonderful to return to Stonehall Flats for the annual apple pressing event and see how the orchard and community garden are developing. The apples were harvested from the trees and the best ones stored as ‘keepers,’ with the others being put through the press. Local councillor Sue McDonald supported this event through her Locality funds via Stonehouse Residents Association.
In January 2022 there was a Wassail event in the orchard organized by local residents. This mid-winter evening event included singing around the trees, refreshments and a cheerful fire.
10th October – Weston Mill
All Ways Apples returned to Weston Mill (a village within the city on the edge of Ham Woods) to harvest and press apples from the orchard behind the historic Mill. Local resident Jenny South commented:
Having All Ways Apples attend the village really is one of the highlights to our year. It brings the whole community together, working as a team, and having fun whilst we do so. This is the second year we have been able to do this and this year we extended our invite to local residents surrounding Ham Woods and the local home education community. Everyone was able to sample / go home with their own juice which they had helped to make. For the local home educators, it was not only a fun opportunity but also an educational one. Parents expressed their gratitude for inviting them along and we hope to be able to do the same again in the future.
11th October – Routeways, Devonport Park Activity Centre
It is wonderful to return regularly and help young people harvest and press their apples. Their orchard was planted with trees donated by All Ways Apples in 2012. As well as the young people, a couple of local residents came and joined us this time. They were so pleased to discover what happens at the centre. Routeways Service Manager, Lucy Clark says:
We are always so grateful for your visits. The young people love the process of picking the apples and turning them into something else they recognise. We think it is a brilliant contribution to their learning around how we get our food and helps young people to recognise that food doesn’t come in packets naturally and doesn’t just appear in supermarkets! We hope that by engaging with projects such as yours we can encourage young people to access healthier lifestyles and make more informed decisions about what they put into their body.
12th October – harvesting crab apples in Devonport
Carmen Wong from JarSquad showed us an abundance of red crab apples in the green space at the bottom of Ferry Road in Devonport.
We picked a couple of boxes of the apples, but the trees were so abundant that it did not look as if we had taken any!
Passers-by stopped to ask us what we were doing and find out what fruit we were picking. The fruit was used to make tasty chilli jelly at the JarSquad Assembly.
14th October – The Beacon in North Prospect
The Beacon has a lovely garden with lots of fruit, including grapes!
Some local families come to monthly gardening sessions to look after the plants along with Leigh Ferguson from Plymouth Community Homes.
The small pressing event was a real celebration of their hard work.
15th and 16th October – pastuerising at The Millenium for The Union Street Show
Food Plymouth supported the Union Street Show, an arts and social connectivity event, at the Millennium. The interactive Food Plymouth stand included pasteurising apple juice to preserve it for use at future events. There was also a wide choice of local fresh apples and dried apples.
Pasteurising juice will preserve it for up to two years when stored at ambient temperature. We freeze any juice left over from our pressing events, so it was useful to free up freezer space for the next pressings by pasteurising some of this.
It was so nice to be able to come into this building and see it being used again. Great to see social enterprises being involved. The apple juice from Food Plymouth was delicious.
We even got to try some cake!
Thijs Mostert, Organiser, The Union Street Show
20th October – West Park
Supported by Plymouth Community Homes, we planned to hold an apple pressing beside the orchard in West Park. We wanted to support the community in appreciating and caring for the orchard.
The plan was for children from Knowle Primary School to join us at the orchard, because the school had been involved in planting the trees. Unfortunately, the day was very windy with heavy showers. We therefore had to move the apple pressing to the school. This worked well and two classes joined us.
I didn’t know there is an orchard in West Park!
Pupil at Knowle Primary School
Each of the children got involved with the preparation of the apples and helped put the apples through the mill. They loved seeing the juice being pressed and enjoyed drinking it. Each child used the spiralizer to peel, core and slice the apples and sample some of the heritage variety apples and a cup of juice. At the end of the school day parents were offered samples of juice while waiting to collect their children.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for today! I had such amazing feedback from the children and adults who took part. They loved it. Thank you for organising and for answering my million questions.
Teacher at Knowle Primary School
22nd October – Blockhouse Park, Stoke
We had a busy day at Blockhouse Park, with the Village Hub volunteers plus lots of visitors. Hayley Partridge was there from Green Minds. Ray Morton from the Ernesettle Community orchard stood in for Dave Curno at the event. Some students from City College Plymouth came with Amy Cooper from Real Ideas Organization (RIO) to experience grassroots community activities. As well as the apple pressing, Sammy Fraser from the Tamara Project in the Tamar Valley provided some nature activities. Blockhouse Park has six young fruit trees and a growing forest of self-seeded cherry trees. There are plans for more abundance – please see the extract from the Village Hub newsletter below.
23rd October – Knowle Avenue, Keyham
We set up on the lovely green area at Knowle Avenue. Two local children were stars of the day and spent most of the event with us, helping and showing other children what to do when they arrived. A local resident was delighted to receive some of the apple pulp from the pressing to feed to his ducks! Mansel Nott commented:
The Kintsugi Project enjoyed visiting the apple pressing event, near our community garden. We were more than pleased to help out and it was a brilliant opportunity to show some of the attendees our accessible community garden in Knowle Avenue, Keyham.
25th October – Mountwise Towers, Devonport
The apple pressing trailer set up outside Tamar House and local residents from the Towers and surrounding houses came and helped make lots of juice.
Plymouth Community Homes Housing Association have been supporting the residents at the Mountwise Towers to improve their green spaces over the past few years. As part of this work, six apple trees and three cherry trees have been planted.
This summer an additional Pilgrim 400 apple tree was planted at Tamar House. This was one of 30 of these trees donated to community projects and schools across the city as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations.
Plymouth Tree Partnership, a long-time supporter of All Ways Apples, helped to organize the distribution of the trees to community groups. You can find out more about this special variety of apple tree via this link – History of the Pilgrim 400 Apple Tree.
27th October – Poole Farm, Forder Valley
We joined the Festival of Nature at Plymouth’s City Farm. Families, especially the children, enjoyed putting the washed apples into the mill to make them into slush before going into the press. Over 100 people sampled the juice and five litres was donated to the City Farm for their volunteers to enjoy later. Some of the apple pulp from the pressing was taken to feed to the farm’s animals.
29th October – Down Horn Park, Plymstock
This was our first visit to Down Horn Park. This has a lovely old orchard with interesting varieties and we had plenty of fruit to harvest. The apple pressing was part of a consultation process about the future of the park, which included a survey and lots of conversations. The consultation is informing the residents’ plans to coordinate protection of this valuable green space in Plymstock. The aim is to enhance its use by the community for health and wellbeing, to improve the biodiversity and deliver environmental benefits. The residents are working closely with the local doctors’ practices and taking part in a Permaculture design process with Tess Wilmot between January and March 2022.
13th November – Victoria Park, Stonehouse
The All Ways Apples on Tour event in Victoria Park was a very busy day with lots of people stopping to help and chat about apples. We were at the eastern end of the park outside of Snapdragons, beside their beautiful old crab apple tree. A percentage from the donations for the juice was given to the Friends of Victoria Park community group.
The waste pulp from the pressing is called the ‘cheese’ and throughout the autumn we endeavoured to find uses for this ‘waste’! Chickens, ducks, ponies and pigs all enjoyed this tasty resource and some of it was composted. In Victoria Park the apple pulp was composted in the hotbin composter at Generous Earth at Snapdragons.
16th November – St Levan Park, Keyham
This event involved tree care with the local Neighbourhood Watch community orchard group and children from nearby Ford Primary School. Practical work included mulching and pruning the apple trees. The children were delighted when we found two lovely toads under the trees when we were improving the soil. We had lots of fun activities with Helen Parr who joined us from Devon Wildlife Trust and Green Minds. Helen encouraged the local residents to share their thoughts about their local green spaces by doing the Green Minds survey.
17th November – North Down Crescent, Keyham
It was a chilly day in the North Down Crescent Park. Kim Hayden from Green Minds joined Tess and Dave and chatted with many dog walkers enjoying the park, encouraging them to fill in the Green Minds questionnaires while sampling the apple juice. This is a new venue for us and there are no fruit trees in the park – yet!
18th November – Pasteurising at Keyham Green Places
It was lovely to return to Keyham Green Places (KGP) and to pasteurise more juice in the marquee under the old apple tree. Helen Parr from Devon Wildlife Trust / Green Minds came to help again. We were visited by some of the Food Bank service users who loved the fresh juice and took some home with them. Volunteers from KGP had been saving clean glass bottles for us, so we were able to fill these. The pasteurised juice in the bottles was stored at KGP, to be used at future community events or shared.
22nd November – #JarSquad Pasteurising Event, Stonehouse
This fruitful combination of JarSquad and All Ways Apples took place at Union Corner. JarSquad’s Rachel Dobbs commented:
It has been great to collaborate with All Ways Apples. We’re learning new skills around preservation and pasteurising that will really help us with future JarSquad projects. This has given us a chance to try out new things (like making amazing Beetroot and Apple juice) and experiment in ways that we wouldn’t have the chance to do otherwise. We love working with Tess and Dave and look forward to more collaborations in the future!
24th November – Tree Care, Ernesettle
The Ernesettle team did themselves proud in organizing this lovely tree care event. This included mulching the trees, planting a Pilgrim 400 apple tree, a BBQ and making mulled apple juice. We enjoyed supporting their event, working with them and singing around the new tree. The friends of Ernesettle Creek and Budshead Woods do an amazing amount of work in their green spaces and care for the fruit trees.
In conclusion, despite all the continuing restrictions and challenges around COVID-19, All Ways Apples managed to adapt and go ‘On Tour’ again in 2021.
We provided a rich and diverse programe of events across the city, visiting many of Plymouth’s community orchards. We were given an abundance of apples from private gardens, schools and community orchards.
We gave away both apples and fresh juice to volunteers and passers-by. Any juice that was not shared at the events was quickly frozen and then pasteurised to give it up to two year’s shelf life so we can continue to share this delicious resource. Some of the juice has gone to food banks, community fridges and community projects.
We are steadily building a community of people with knowledge and skills who are caring for our orchards and becoming proficient in capturing and celebrating their abundance. It is a joy to work with these groups and those who are only just beginning their journey of discovery and growth.
In support of this, Plymouth Tree Partnership is encouraging people to become Orchard Keepers alongside their Tree Wardens, because some different skills are needed in each of these disciplines. For example, the community orchard beside Swarthmore Allotments in Central Park has two Orchard Keepers – Matt and Alice – who are managing the orchard so that wildlife flourishes. As part of this they are experimenting with mulching with sheeps wool.
Supported by Food Plymouth and working with Plymouth City Council / Green Minds, Plymouth Tree Partnership and many community groups throughout the city, we are helping people and places to flourish. This collaboration is delivering a rich variety of events and activities celebrating local seasonal produce and building the skills needed for a fruitful future!