Fruit Routes Loughborough


Twenty different apple puds, mounds of apple pulp, colourful lanterns, looking at the world upside down, finding a new apple tree, peeling apples and playing with Wordsworth, cups of liquid sunshine, music in the dark, a roaring fire, roasting chestnuts, patterned pumpkins, exchanging found objects with a stranger and a cup of gingko tea to help you remember. 

Our harvest events this year were attended by upwards of two hundred and fifty people. Two days of harvesting, apple tagging and apple pressing were followed by a day of Harvest celebrations* (see day in a life of Fruit Routes below).

These started at midday with a walk led by Simone Kenyon and Anne-Marie, sensing the sounds, colours, smells and flavours of autumn on the Fruit Route, followed by Martha’s soup, made from garden ingredients.

It was great to see some people I hadn’t seen since the first year of the project come back for the day including ex-students and locals. Back at the LAGS garden were a range of different activities involving pumpkins, apples, juicing and lanterns – one of the highlights was Paul Conneally’s Peel installation where people tested their apple peeling skills and combined this with adapting quotes from Wordsworth.

Mid-afternoon the first event Campus Apple Bake Off judging took place. We were overwhelmed by the variety and skill of bakers on and off campus in particular the student entries and the Vice Chancellor himself baking not one but two apple pies. We’ll be adding the recipes to the Recipe page on the blog soon.

The toffee apple cake and healthy sugar and gluten free apple flapjacks were particularly memorable. The winners were Gregory Downes and Marshall McFadyen, both from Robert Bakewell Hall.  After the prize-giving the competitors, judges and hungry by-standers tucked into the apple bakes, with not so much as a crumb left within 30 minutes followed by a collective sugar rush!

As night fell people huddled around the bonfire and tucked into the barbeque while listening to local band Careen who had created a new car battery powered amp especially for the gig.  After the band, people stayed on round the fire.

Our next event is on 11 February when we will be planting another 26 trees fruit trees. All are welcome. Here is a link to the Fruit Routes map online so you can see what is there so far. You can also get a paper copy from reception at Facilities Management. At the end of this blog I’ve done a ‘day in the life of Fruit Routes’ in case you are interested in what happens behind the scenes. See you in 2015!

thanks to Kevin Ryan, Benji Appleby, Suzanne Forrester for the photos.

A day in the life of Fruit Routes, 16 October 2014

9am Pick up Eat Your Campus bike and bike trailer and maps to distribute and set up the Bake Off Apple stand in the EHB Building (where people can pick up apples to take part in the bake off).

10am Speak to all of the 1st year input of Fine Art students in a lecture theatre about Fruit Routes and how it came to be. Afterwards in EHB foyer I overhear some other students and a parent discussing what they would cook for the bake off. They tell me that they forage on campus and have been using the foraging map and have found lots of raspberries. Other people are coming to take free apples.

10.30am Cycle the FR bike trailer down to the Student Union and meet Benji (student E&E officer) who is setting up the Bake Off stall down there.

11am Four Asian postgrads turn up for harvesting “to see what it feels like picking apples from a tree”. Rachel from the Grounds team comes with me and we set off for Ashby Road orchard and pick windfalls and the fruit left on the lower branches using the apple picker. This year has been a really early harvest so loads of the fruit has already fallen.  Its good fun and they take lots of photos and I share information about varieties and when to pick the fruit. We also go and forage for sweet chestnuts at Harry French Hall. There have already been high winds so the squirrels have prized opened many of the prickly cases but we still get a reasonable harvest for roasting and there are loads still to come down from the tree. Suzanne Heath, the wife of one of the University academics and her two young children turn up and harvest some of the chestnuts too.

1pm Cycle to the West gate and meet a group of students from Telford Hall and we do really well picking three apple trees including a new one that I spot at the back of the David Davies building, mostly because the apples have a lovely pink blush. Rachel drops all the apples off at the Shed.

3pm Go back to the Student Union to look after the Bake Off stall and meet Gillian Whiteley (Senior Lecturer Fine Art) Gill mentions a friend who is a musician specializing in percussion as we discuss the planting event in February and the possibility of a Wassail. We sit labeling apples for Apple Tagging (each harvest I distribute apples with colourful tags across the campus with messages for people to pick up and find in unusual places) and talking about ideas and inspiration for our practices and for Fruit Routes.

4pm I’m up at the LAGS shed for a planning meeting for the next two days with LAGS, Sustainability Team and Kevin Ryan from Charnwood Arts.

5pm Go and fill up the apple boxes at EHB, check out the walnut tree just out the front of EHB (no walnuts just two dried kernels).

5.30pm Call in at the Telford Warden’s house. The trees are heavy with large pears and cooking apples. Can’t resist getting out the long picker and as it gets darker end up picking by the light of Paul’s car headlights!

6.30pm Go for a drink with Paul and talk about ideas for his apple game and have something to eat.

10pm Tweet and download photographs from the day. Sleep!

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