It’s ten years since Chepstow Town Council and Transition Chepstow held the first Apple Day in the Drill Hall, celebrating the long history of apple growing and cider making in the area. Since then, it has become a well-established tradition.
Apple Day this year will be on the 28th October, and will feature old favourites such as the longest apple peel competition, apple identification by experts from the Marcher Apple Network, stalls, music, children’s craft activities and more. One popular attraction is the wide variety of apples on sale. Another is the apple cookery competition. Prizes of up to £50 are offered for the most appealing apple dishes, both sweet and savoury. The judge this year is Anthony Barnes, Executive Chef at the Marriott St Pierre. He described what he will be looking for in the entries, ‘‘First of all, I’ll be looking for presentation: first impressions really do count! Next, flavour. The dish must have depth of flavour but still have the star of the show shining through. Thirdly, I’ll be looking for a dish that tells a story – something that sets it apart from the rest.’
Outside the Drill Hall, there will be the opportunity to press your own apples for juice or cider – and enthusiastic cider-makers will be on hand to give advice. Remember to bring a container!
Since the first Apple Day ten years ago, Chepstow Town Council and Transition Chepstow have been developing community orchards around the town. Residents can help themselves to the fruit, and the orchards also provide a haven for wildlife. In 2018 these twelve mini-orchards were linked by the Wildlife and Orchard Trail – a walk of up to 6 miles taking in the orchards, other sites of wildlife interest and a section of the Wales Coast Path with fantastic views. A trail map and directions can be downloaded from here.
Apple Day will be a chance to find out more about the orchards. For the first time there will be outdoor activities in one of the orchards near the Drill Hall, with traditional children’s activities and a chance to talk about pruning and other aspects of growing apples.
Apple Day will be celebrated in the Drill Hall on 28 October from 11.30 to 4.30. Lunches and light refreshments as well as cider and apple products will be on sale. For more information, visit www.transitionchepstow.org.uk where you can also download an entry form for the cookery competition (£1 per entry; entries to be delivered to the Drill Hall between 11 am and 11.30).