The origins of Britain's favourite apple

First published in Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

ONE of the country’s top gardening events will be a frenzy of fruit this year as it celebrates all things apple.

Next month’s Harrogate Autumn Flower Show will offer visitors the chance to find out more about the crunchy British favourite - including a long-forgotten Yorkshire link to what is arguably the world’s most famous apple.

For one of the oldest surviving varieties of eating apple, the Ribston Pippin, was raised 300 years ago at Ribston Hall, near Knaresborough, by the dedicated arboriculturist Sir Henry Goodricke.

He grew the first Ribston Pippin from the only survivor of three pips sent from Normandy in 1709 and it was from this variety that Richard Cox raised his famous Cox’s Orange Pippin a century later.

During the show, which runs from September 12 to 14, TV chef Stephanie Moon and fellow cookery theatre host Gilly Robinson will also demonstrate an original 18th century apple recipe from a book published in 1737.

And visitors to the show’s apple festival marquee could have the chance to sample some Ribston Pippin to find out whether they can tell the difference between heritage varieties and their modern supermarket successors.

Show director Nick Smith said: “Our love of the humble apple stretches back thousands of years and the vast range of varieties now available means that even small gardens can sustain apple trees.

“We aim to help visitors learn how to plant and prune their fruit trees, as well as discovering how much better the fruit tastes when they do.”

Rated in Britain’s top three gardening events by Which magazine, Harrogate Flower Show is staged at the Great Yorkshire Showground and is the only autumn event to offer a range of show gardens.

Book on line at or call 01423 546157.

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