PYO developed in the late 1970’s and 80’s as a way for families who had lived though rationing, to to hoard apples cheaply and store them away over winter as a reliable and cheap supply of food. Present day availability of fruit 12 months a year means that PYO has taken on a different role in family life. These days it’s more about enjoying the seasonal differences not offered by supermarkets. The ability to connect with nature by picking an apple and eating it straight from the tree and perhaps most importantly, educating the next generation that apples grow on tree and not in factories. Rather than hoarding, these days our customers tend to come back on a weekly basis, picking fresh fruit over a period of up to 5 or 6 months and saving themselves a few pennies by doing so.
Vistabella is ready to pick now.
PICK YOUR OWN Apples (PYO).
We offer a selection of apples and pears for PYO.
You can Pick your Own Apples 7 days a week but only during the normal opening hours for the farm shop. Please call in to the farm shop before picking to find out what is in season before you start.
(FUN FACT: Despite regularly topping the google search for PYO Strawberries, we DO NOT grow strawberries!)
July PYO varieties
Early ripening summer varieties of apples tend to be a little bit soft and rather sharp. Full of flavour, they have a short shelf live and are best eaten straight off the tree. This makes them a perfect PYO opportunity to start picking apple early on a weekly basis and get in to a healthy and educational routine with your young family or bring out elderly parents to whom it will bring back memories of their childhood!
VISTABELLA – (pictured left) available from mid July. Refreshing, very juicy and with a melon like flavour. Sharp and best eaten chilled for full enjoyment. Medium sized fruit and prone to softness, especially after heavy summer rainfall.
GEORGE CAVE – Available from mid to late Jauly. Firm fruit, small and sharp. Green skin, flecked with stripy orange on the sunny side. Strong and complex flavours will linger and this variety makes an especially interesting medium sharp apple juice.
August PYO varieties
GRENADIER – The traditional early cooking variety. There is less demand for cooking apples in late summer than in the past as Bramley is now available 12 months of the year. If you are adventurous and fancy an apple pie with a difference, now is the time to experiment, even if you choose to freeze your creation to eat during the hunger months of early spring.
JAMES GRIEVE – is a dual purpose apple. In mid August it is sharp and ideal for cooking. The acidity holds its flavour well and it makes a delicious pie or puree and a very palatable apple juice. By early September, its’s pale green background colour has turned yellow and it is sweet and very very juicy. Disease tolerant and precocious, it makes an ideal garden variety.
DISCOVERY – Traditionally, Discovery ripens on our farm on or around the 12th August. It is the first real “quality” English variety and traditionally kicks off the Early apple harvest. Attractively red, it is described as a flattish apple, white flesh that sweetens over time. The Discovery season only lasts two or three weeks and fruit are best kept in the fridge to maintain their firmness. A hint of strawberries, white flesh turning to pink as it ripens.
KATY – Late August, this apple now has more notoriety as a “soft” cider variety but was originally bred from Worcester Pearmain to be an early dessert. Bright red, slightly sharp, very juice and conical in shape, it has a short but important place in the early English apple season.
September PYO varieties
September is mid-season for apples and constitutes the bulk of the harvest. On the farm we will be picking fro long term storage, slightly before the apples are ready to eat. Mid-season varieties will mostly store until Christmas in a cool and dark environment but most importantly, there is a large choice of flavours, colours and shapes.
WORCESTER PEARMAIN – is normally ripe to pick for the 1st September and this apple traditionally heralds the end of summer. Worcester has a distinctive flavour and is the first of the firmer fleshed apples, although it is best eaten quickly, as it won’t store beyond the the end of September. One of the really quality English Heritage apples that is part of so many people’s childhood.
COX’S ORANGE PIPPIN
KIDDS LATE ORANGE
ASHTON BITTER – Cider
October PYO varieties
BROWNS APPLE – Cider
DABINET – Cider
PYO is an excellent way to connect your family to the food they eat. There is something special about picking fruit from a tree, as opposed to from the shelf of a supermarket. It is a valuable education for young children, as well as good exercise and great family fun, especially when the sun is out.
Come and see for yourself.