This new event for the Association last October (2016) was designed to be a celebration of the season of “mist and mellow fruitfulness”. As the weather was kind, the children’s activities could go ahead in the garden. The children used autumn leaves, berries and seeds to create stunning pictures and wonderful decorations, as well as making brightly coloured lavender bags using the dried flowers from the garden. Budding gardeners were also able to plant daffodil bulbs to take home, and autumn stories were read in the Story Hut at the end of garden.
Meanwhile, the adults could try a range of wonderful locally grown apples, and try the mulled cider which proved a big hit. Three hearty, homemade soups were also on offer. Harvest crops were paired with unusual flavourings: carrot and cardamom; leek, potato and lavender; and spicy pumpkin and coconut. Then it was time for cake and once again our local bakers did not disappoint, with their own twists on traditional fruit-based recipes: apple and almond; chocolate and beetroot; plum; and pumpkin pie – all worthy of the Great British Bake Off.
One of the highlights should have been an apple pressing from different locally grown apples. However, the apple harvest this had been disappointing, so making litres of luscious juice was going to be tricky – even before it was realised that the promised, professional apple press could not be obtained in time! Not to be deterred by such setbacks, Rowena, using a commendable degree of improvisation, put together our very own Heath Robinson press, consisting of two chopping boards and a series of clamps. Enough juice was produced for all present to drink a thimble-full and everyone declared the resulting nectar to be delicious and, interestingly, much sweeter than the original apples.
A big thank you to all those who made the event possible and thanks too to everyone who came along at such short notice. We are reliably informed that there will be a bumper harvest next year, so do let us have your feedback and ideas to make Autumn Harvest 2017 an even bigger celebration of the fruits of Forest Hill.