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Ancient British apple orchards face destruction


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If felled before January 1 orchards will be classed as "farmland" and be worth an automatic yearly £340 a hectare, in perpetuity; but any left standing will be worth no more than the land value and, crucially, will not be considered for farm payments.

Guardian

John Whiting, London

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It's unbearably sad.

"You don't just lose trees. You lose the recipes, the songs, the work, the festivals, the landscape, and all the wisdom gathered over generations of how you grow them."

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I am mortified. Are these the same people who have opened youall up to the cultivation of genetically engineered corn, which we've fought so strenuously against? This is paramount to desecration....when do we learn....we are one?As one voice, it should be reviled!

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Julian Temperley, owner of 150 acres (60 hectares) of traditional cider apple orchards and Britain's largest cider distillery, in Kingsbury Episcopi, said: "What's the government got against old orchards?"

That's exactly what I'd like to know. Why?

WHY????

The whole thing is simply surreal. Insane.

Cui bono? I just don't get it.

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I am lucky enough to be able to get heirloom apples, many different types. Different textures, colours, sizes and shapes. The flavour range is incredible, bannana, pineapple, anise, nutmeg etc etc. Three or four differnent types in a pie gives a very complex mix of flavours and textures. But, these are dying out and most people prefer imported Braeburns. What I am unaware of is if this is due to peoples preferences or supermarkets preference?

I'm sure that the apples are one example amoungst many. What is sad about this thread is that many of the excellent foods that have been mentioned are not eaten very much at all and this is in an era where food shows are on TV at least once a week and it is common to see London described as one of the great food destinations of the world.

Quoted from me a month ago (just call me Cassandra :hmmm: ). I think that what is happening to these apple orchards is horrible, but not unexpected given that it has also happened to so many other sectors of British agriculture. What requires repeating is if this is happenig to apples (second most popular fruit in Britian), what is happening to other agricultural products?

If one was to write a strongly worded letter, where would be the best place to send it? A PM, the department concerned or to the Newspaper that released the article?

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The best place to write a protest letter to is DEFRA, whose email and snail mail addresses are accessible through their website. Also to your MP, if s/he is likely to be sympathetic. (Ironically, you're liable to get more mileage out of a Tory than a Labourite.)

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

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If it is indeed unstoppable that these treasures were to go, one only hopes that there's someone who will do something towards slips for grafts in order that true, old varieties do not go extinct because of the short-sighted policies.

This makes me think of the crisis of the great Russian seedbank at the Vavilov Institute.

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Well, there's bound to be a seed savers association in the UK. The Irish one is http://www.irishseedsavers.ie/ and they are particularly interested in apples, incidentally. They have a side business where you can order heirloom varieties and they will ship seedlings. All sorts of interesting types, just waiting on my house to get ready before I can think about the garden though...

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Nichola Fletcher and her husband John run one of Scotland's (and Britain's) great deer farms, north of Edinburgh. They also have an apple orchard. In a recent closed Guild of Food Writers Sparklist discussion of this thread she contributed a very relevant posting. I quote it here with her permission. (She and her husband have separately written brilliantly about the raising and the cooking of venison. Do check out their website.)

Much lobbying has been going on for years by everyone likely to be affected by restructuring, (and incidentally there are different sets-up in Scotland and Wales - everyone has been waiting with baited breath for the final pronouncements). Some people are better off, some worse.  So I very much doubt if the restructuring can be changed now.

So the apple growers could always just carry on as before (as we will), accepting the lower value of the land which, after all, only comes into force if the land is to be sold and used for anything other than orchards or deer or some other unsubsidised product ...  don't forget most land in the south and middle of England is far more valuable sold as non-farming land.

I think it is simply the inherent injustice and apparent arbitraryness of the whole system that grates, as well as the impression one gets that the ones who suffer seem, once again, to be growers producing foods that are beneficial to health while the conventional ones scoop up the rewards, simply because they always did. And because they have a more powerful lobby.

The real tragedy is that the whole system of agricultural support was not scrapped altogether, as it was in New Zealand.  It would be much fairer to Third World countries if subsidies went. Only then do you stop getting this ridiculous chasing of 'free' money that goes on.  It really interferes with producing what is really wanted, both in terms of products as well as in results to do with the environment, health, culture, and other qualities less easy to quantify in monetary terms (but of inestimable value nonetheless).

Nichola Fletcher

http://www.fletcherscotland.co.uk/index.html

Edited by John Whiting (log)

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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