Apple Abundance in Chesterfield

Apple Abundance in Chesterfield
Chris McCartney
28 September 2023
2 minute read

At this time of the year, many Transition groups gather apples that wouldn’t otherwise be harvested, and make sure they can be eaten and enjoyed.

Transition Chesterfield set up their Abundance Project when they noticed some of the autumn bounty in their area was shrivelling and going to waste. Now volunteers offer to pick unwanted fruit and ensure it gets to local groups and individuals who want to make good use of it. To demonstrate ways of storing the fruit, they purchased an apple pressing kit and organised events where people can get involved come and take away the juice for drinking or freezing.

Five volunteers from Transition Chesterfield's Abundance project with tools for picking apples. Behind them are heavily laden apple trees in the autumn sunlight.

This year, they’ll hold their Apple Day at the town’s Monkey Park on 1 October, with apple pressing and sharing recipes for everything from apple wine, cakes and soup! (Check out their apple recipe booklet). There are lots of other Apple events around Derbyshire, and beyond – check if your local group is organising any.

A volunteer uses an apple picker with a long handle to collect fruit from a tall apple tree in a back garden. In the foreground we have a close up of the picker - like a small cage open at the top, ready to catch the fruit.

Co-ordinator Alison Cowley shared these top tips for any other groups wanting to set up a similar project:

  • Get to know your local tree owners – build community and trust (and don’t share their location publicly)
  • Plan and prep for each pick, including visiting the site and spotting hazards
  • Build a team of volunteers, choose an easy system to keep in touch, and never work alone
  • Be ready to store some apples – with paper, boxes and space. They keep 100kg over winter so local supplies flow for months!

The project is organised by Alison with Polly Bentley and Margaret Heresee from Transition Chesterfield. Here’s a sociable, practical way our communities can ease high food prices and take a step towards more resilient, local food with less climate impact and waste.

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