Crab Apple Medicine
This time of year sees the start of apples ripening on the trees. They start from the end of summer through to Autumn, culminating in Apple Day on the 21st October. We incorporate crab apples into our Recovery Remedy Drops. Crab apples represent the coming together of a Tribe, found in the hedgerows linked arm in arm with their fellow Rose Family cousins (hawthorn, rosehip, sloe) as a protective front or boundary.
Wassails have long gathered communities together to celebrate the fruit of the apple tree in fun and merriment. Look out for wassails in your local community as orchard projects have seen a rise in recent years.
Check out our Hertfordshire Community Orchard project here!
History of our Orchard Garden
Back in 2010, a few of us formed Northaw Transition, in our little village in South Hertfordshire. We ran a number of small scale initiatives involving the local village and primary school; battery and clothes recycling projects, environmental audits, a school orchard, educational awareness campaigns and stalls, a community garden, a community beehive and fruit harvesting projects. In this we were supported generously by local and national businesses, other community organisations, our Parish Council and individual volunteers.
In early 2011 we applied for a Community Green Space Challenge grant from Grantscape, for a community orchard. We were supported again during this process by our Parish Council, with the Borough Council offering us some unused land for rent in the heart of the village. After working hard to complete the grant application in a very short time and run a public consultation on the proposals, we were awarded the full grant in September 2011.
In order to lease the site for the orchard we had to become a company, so we opted to become a not-for-profit Community Interest Company – which we did in September that year. For the next three years we wrangled endlessly against constant obstacles and bureaucracy, to agree a lease on fair terms. Thankfully the grant provider was very understanding to our plight, extending deadlines for the grant on many occasions. The 15 year peppercorn lease was finally signed in September 2014, with the Parish Council as a main lessee and our group subleasing from them. Work finally started on the ground in October 2014, and had to be completed in line with the grant terms by December 2014, condensing the proposed 18 month project set up period into three very intense months, in the cold bleak muddy winter!
Against the elements, with the help of many awesome volunteers the site was prepared and planted on time, with finishing touches spilling into the new year. With much relief we celebrated our opening day in June 2015 and our first Apple Day the following October. We are now really excited about the future, developing the project to meet our financial overheads (for insurance and equipment maintenance mainly). We have a beautiful yurt on site, which we rent to support the orchard, a marquee which we also hire out, and our beehives – for which we have plenty of bee-suits for up-coming learning projects. We have planted over 80 fruit and nut trees on the 5 acre site, a willow bed with a huge variety of cuttings and lots of hedging.
Now we are seeing the fruits of our labour -literally!
To create the crab apple base for our Recovery Remedy Drops, we place crab apples, chopped, in gin with honey and leave for a lunar cycle. We strain out the crab apples and mix with Sloe gin (made without sugar) and Hawthorn berry gin too. They are sweet, nourishing and absolutely delicious. They represent and can encourage, taking the time to properly convalesce from illness, something that is all too often forgotten about in fast-paced modern society.
Get your strength back !
Contains: Crab apple (tribe), Hawthorn berry (rhythm), Sloe (adversity)
These drops support:
- Convalescence (nurturing strength and stamina) from physical, mental, emotional illness
- Stepping out from a period of isolation
- Finding your own natural rhythm, thus allowing your heart to beat with the rhythm of life
- Connecting back in with the tribe
- Coming through a dark emotional time
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Crab apples hold the potential for the creation of a completely genetically individual fruit tree within each pip. These rose family fruits, astringent and wholesome, connect us to our tribe, our community, and helping with feelings of loneliness that can come with prolonged periods of illness.
Hawthorn Berries are gently warming, a plant of Mars. They support the heart and digestion keeping a steady rhythm, counselling a slow, safe space of self-care.
Sloe Berries are the first to blossom and often the last food source still out in the depth of winter supplying nourishment in the harsh often-freezing weather. Sloes are full of immune-boosting nutrients. Great for overcoming adversity.
Read more about our Community Garden Projects and how to get involved!