Amanda on November 9th, 2009
Orleans Reinette

Orleans Reinette

That’s what I’ve been doing this week, a new word for an old pastime.  There is nothing quite as satisfying as planting a fruit orchard and no pleasure quite as dreamlike (alright so maybe there are one or two exceptions but not that I’m going to discuss here) as looking forward to that far-flung day when you are picking more fruit than will feed the village in a year, it’s a good five or six years away, but I really look forward to that.
One of the problems with planting an orchard in southern France is that it’s not really apple country.  They do grow here, of course they do, but the old English varieties, and especially the sharp culinary apples are just not available to buy.  Fortunately I found a saviour in Deacons Nurseries on the Isle of Wight.  Not only do they grow absolutely every apple I’ve ever heard of and many more into the bargain, they are willing to ship them to rural France.  And so I chose six-of-the-best.  Bramley and Lane’s Prince Albert for the culinaries.  The delicious Lord Lambourne for a fairly early dessert.  Wonderfully aromatic Ashmead’s Kernel and crisp William Crump for the mids and the indispensible Orleans Reinette for my late keeper. I had them all grafted onto a semi-dwarfing rootstock and received an exciting, damp parcel last week.  Honestly – the things that get me excited these days.
Meanwhile down on the orchard terrace six enormous holes have been dug, with a certain amount of grumbling, a pickaxe and a pneumatic drill, by the beloved.  The white stone of the Quercy has been blasted with good muscle and sinew, then sifted and enriched with compost and topsoil; it looks like we’re in business.

Orcharding in the Quercy from French Life