So What Makes An Apple...... An Apple ?
Our Irish heirloom apples have wonderful names such as Cavan Rose and Irish Molly, Bloody Butcher, Irish Peach and Lady Fingers, Green chisel, Mrs Perry, Widows Friend, Sam Young and Greasy Pippin.
Apples are such a complex fruit in terms of flavour profiles and pairings, nutrition, culinary benefits and biodiversity.
Originating between 2000 and 1000BC Brehon laws stipulated that anyone cutting down an apple tree would be subject to a severe penalty; namely a fine of five cows, and even removing a limb or branch would warrant a fine of some sort.
Co Armagh is fondly known as the Orchard of Ireland. And rightly so, as it produces 35 million apples annually! The region has a very long relationship with this ancient fruit.
St. Patrick is said to have planted the first apple tree at the ancient settlement of Ceangoba in Armagh. And archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved apple tree over 3,000 years old at a site close to Armagh City and now the Armagh Bramley Apple joins a host of PGI listed food and is the oldest apple variety widely planted in Ireland.
PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication and is awarded by the EU Protected Food Name Scheme. This designation is given to foods that are recognised as being original and unique to a specific geographical region. This is a very important distinction as it protects the name, production and marketing of the product.
The Armagh Bramley apple joins the ranks of the Comber Potato, Waterford Blaah, Connemara Lamb and Clare Island Salmon to achieve PGI status in Ireland.
We have to potential to have some excellent, high quality apples on our tables at home each week.
A group called Celtic Orchards exist and they are dedicated to bringing top-quality native Irish apples to us each week. They are a conglomerate of growers who supply only the best apples and premium varieties such as red Windsor, red elstar, jonagored, and red prince.