Why ancient apples are so ap-peel-ing!

Freya Mawhinney from the Georgian Theatre Richmond, pictured with a basket of Ribston Pippin apples picked from the grandchild of the original 18th century tree at Ribston Hall near Knaresborough

Freya Mawhinney from the Georgian Theatre Richmond, pictured with a basket of Ribston Pippin apples picked from the grandchild of the original 18th century tree at Ribston Hall near Knaresborough

: TV chef Stephanie Moon, of Rudding Park, with her fraze with pippins, made with Ribston Pippin apples

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VICTORIAN fruit enthusiast Robert Hogg always reckoned the Ribston Pippin Apple was in "greatest perfection during November and December".

Yesterday , though, the original tree's grandchild was groaning under the weight of autumn fruit, and on hand to pick some was Freya Mawhinney from the Georgian Theatre in Richmond.

Chef Consultant for Rudding Park Hotel, Stephanie Moon also took advantage of this rare access to the tree by taking away some pippins for an 18th century recipe she will be recreating at the Plot to Pot Cookery Theatre during the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show.

One of the oldest surviving varieties of eating apple, Ribston Pippin, was raised 300 years ago at Ribston Hall, near Knaresborough, by the dedicated arboriculturist, Sir Henry Goodricke.

Sir Henry grew his first fruit using the only survivor of three pips sent from Rouen, Normandy in about 1709. It was from this variety that the celebrated Cox’s Orange Pippin was produced a century later.

Director, Nick Smith says the Autumn Flower Show is planning a frenzy of fruit this year, with a new celebration of all things apple, including the opportunity to learn more about the humble Malus and, we're promised, its long-forgotten Yorkshire link.

Meanwhile, visitors to the show’s festival marquee, The Core, will have a chance to sample some Ribston Pippins in a taste test to compare heritage varieties with their modern supermarket successors.

A pop-up orchard will offer demonstrations in planting and pampering fruit trees. Then there will be a traditional cider presses, willow apple weaving and an exhibition of big apples decorated by local schoolchildren.

“Our love of the apple stretches back thousands of years and the vast range of varieties now available means that even small gardens can sustain apple trees," says Nick. "We aim to help visitors learn how to plant and prune their fruit trees, as well as discovering how much better the fruit tastes when they do.”

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show runs between September 12-14. Tickets: Friday and Saturday £13.50 when purchased before 2 September; £16.00 on the gate. Sunday £12.00 in advance or £14.50 on the gate. Under 16s go FREE when accompanied by an adult. Book on line at www.flowershow.org.uk or call 01423 546157.

Did you know?

After the Norman Conquest apple varieties were introduced from France, which included the Costard. Sellers of this variety apple were known as costardmongers; hence the word costermonger; a person who sells fruit and vegetables from a handcart.

Ribston Pippin has one of the highest vitamin C contents; 30 mg per 100g

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