Many people who know and live close to the Fearrington House Restaurant, know that on our wonderful grounds the Chefs have a herb garden to play with, but there is another treat just outside of the fenced in herbs that may go unnoticed for most of the year — an orchard of Crab Apple trees. They stand between The Fearrington House Restaurant and Jenny’s Garden. The bounty of these trees arrive slap bang in the middle of summer and there we are, waiting patiently for these apples to turn from pale green to ruby red.
The day came — and on July 26th, we were ready and so were the apples. I told our line chefs to arrive one hour early and to wear lighter clothes, rather than our chef whites, and something they wouldn’t mind getting dirty. We walked out with our tarpaulin to be greeted at the trees by three young deer gorging on the fallen apples. Some of our chefs climbed the trees and proceeded to shake the apples down, while the rest of us grabbed branches from the ground and tussled with them to release the apples onto our outstretched tarpaulin. In all we collected three large buckets of tiny apples ready to be cleaned and processed.
This is a yearly tradition that I always look forward to, but this is the first year where we have a bigger plan for them. Normally, I would make a jelly that our guests would eat on their toast or biscuit with breakfast. Now we have the new jam and jelly line within the village for you to buy and enjoy at home. Soon we will have some very exclusive handpicked Fearrington Crab Apple Jelly for sale at The Goat and The House Restaurant. It doesn’t end there though, I also make a cordial (fruit Syrup) with it that this year is going to feature one way or another in our exclusive Fearrington Fall Beer brought to you by the excellent partnership of Full Steam Brewery and our Wine Director Maximilian Kast. So, for now, keep your eyes peeled for the the jellies and future beer. We hope you enjoy it as much as we love the process of picking, washing, juicing, setting and canning these tasty little fruits.
- Executive Sous Chef Tom Whitaker