We have begun the harvest in the orchards at Chalice Well. It has been a good year and the trees are abundant with apples, up to half as much again as normal. Mike and Anthony are busy picking them for our juice, carefully selecting the variety that is ripest at the time.
Over the season these include James Grieve, Fortune, Sunset, Lord Lambourne, Falstaff, Worcester Pearmain, Blenheim Orange, Crispin and Ashmead’s Kernel. The last two are also good storing apples. We are lucky enough to also have a few trees providing plums, greengages, pears and figs.
If I had the fortune to choose between a diamond ring and a perfectly ripe fig, I believe I would choose the fig. It is not just the fruit, it is the moment and all that creates it. It is the considered planting of the tree in the right place, the careful pruning that helps to encourage the harvest. It is the slow anticipation of watching the fruits form (sometimes the autumn before), swell and ripen with just the right amount of sunshine and rainfall. As harvest time arrives, it is the hope that today will be the day and the joy when one falls like treasure into your hand.
It is that perfect moment of sharing its sweet ripeness – and the delight when you find more to take to a friend. It is the hope that you will be able to repeat this ritual again next year, alongside the knowing that it will never be the same fig. It is this fig, this moment, this gift, just as it is.
Most of all, it is the holding of love and gratitude for each element that made this moment what it is.