Earlier this week I paid a visit to Lathcoat’s Fruit Farm (@lathcoatsfarm) on the outskirts of Chelmsford. They grow a wide range of fruit, but the focus is very much on apples, with over 40 varieties grown on site. We first visited last Autumn at the peak of the apple season, where despite a tough season for apple growers, we found a room full of different varieties of apple. What a different story this year. It’s looking like it’s going to be a bumper year for apples, and my latest visit coincided with the harvest of some of the earliest varieties.
In a few weeks the apple room will look like this photo again, but for now it’s home to their new season apples plus lots of other local produce, including blueberries and Lathcoats’ own plums. Among other things, I decided to to go for some Discovery apples; Discovery were first discovered (no pun intended) in Essex in the late 1940s, so it’s a true local variety. The apples are smallish and taste great – a bit sweet and sharp at the same time. The colouring is also interesting. They are pale green fading to an almost pinky red, which also carries through to the flesh inside. There’s more detailed information about the history of Discovery apples and hundreds of other varieties on the Orange Pippin website.
Discoveries are quite widely available, including in some supermarkets. They’re well worth looking out for even if you can’t get to a farm, but you’ll need to be quick as the season is short!