Sept 2020 - Big Apple Take Aways

Published in Charlbury Chronicle September 2020

Thank you to all the people who made suggestions about how to handle distributing our local apples under social distancing rules. Fortunately, the opening of The Cornerstone – our new community hub at the Corner House - means that my worries about this are over. Instead of having six Big Apple Take-Aways every two weeks over the autumn I will now be able to pick fruit whenever the weather is suitable and deliver straight to The Corner House for anyone to take free of charge during the week – so no scrums involved! I will advertise in the window and on the website what varieties are available along with information about them. Distributing plums has always been hard because they need eating as soon as they are picked – and now this will be possible.

The Cornerstone will be able to take any spare produce from our local gardens for sharing out to anyone who wants it. This was the original 2008 intention of Charlbury Sharecroppers, so maybe this year we will be able to salvage even more fruit from Charlbury itself. If you have more apples, pears, plums, damsons, figs, quince, medlars etc than you can use yourself, then please contact me on

I use a long-handled picking basket rather than ladders and I can easily pick fruit from even the tallest trees. This is often how it is agreed with the owner, I take the higher apples and leave the lower ones for them to pick easily - this means there aren’t loads of windfalls for them to deal with. Knowing the apple variety is the first stage to knowing when the apples will be ready to pick. I would be delighted to come round to work out what apples you have, however, if they start to fall off then please call me straight away to pick them.

Early apple varieties don’t keep for long but the later varieties ready in October will be able to be stored overwinter for use until the spring. This means that it’s the early varieties that are so often wasted – George Cave, Discovery, Worcester Pearmain and James Grieve are particularly gorgeous apples and so lovely to eat especially when you’ve only had supermarket apples for months. Later on the dark maroon Spartan with the lovely bloom like a plum is a popular garden apple tree and the apples are much loved by everyone – so if you have one of these and have too many to eat yourself then please think of sharing them with the rest of Charlbury.

A final word about plums - people have always fought over the plums at the Take-Aways – so if you have a plum tree and have too many to eat yourself, then please contact me because I know they would be very much appreciated.

Read more about our local apples on

Charlbury Green Hub