While in the Cotswolds we bought our fresh produce at farm shops. We visited a number and loved the ones that also sold gourmet foods. However the farm shop just half a mile from the farm we stayed on was something else.
It was in the middle of a yard full of old and broken down machinery. There were also a number of old disused petrol pumps. It was situated on a minor road and kind of looked isolated and deserted yet there was a building saying Farm shop open. We ventured in one day. Not a soul about. There was also a house on the property with the front door wide open. No reply there either. Interestingly there were 2 large dog bowls in the porch. We did not venture any further! On entering the shop, there was plenty of produce, prices, bags etc. so we assumed we were meant to serve ourselves. The cash till even had a key in it. We duly filled the bags and weighed our fruit and decided to leave a note saying what we had bought and left the money on a bench. There was no way that I was going to touch that till. Alan said it felt like that at any moment someone would appear with a shotgun or maybe a dog would be let loose. Nothing like this happened. We returned to stock up on real English Cox Orange Pippin apples before we left for home and it was just the same. The Farmer where we stayed said that people are quite trusting down here. What a lovely change.
The Apple harvest in this country has been amazing this year. The combination of an exceptionally warm April and an exceptionally wet July is responsible. The harvest has never been as early, the apples never been as juicy and their skins have never enjoyed such deep colouring. One owner of one plum orchard said that his trees had never seen such damage as they received when the enormous hail stones hit, yet his plum trees have been so laden with fruit that some trees have fallen to the ground. So it looks like there has been some benefit to our crazy weather this year.