Spain has La Tomatina, the U.S. state of West Virginia salutes the strawberry, while the Isle of Wight holds an annual festival dedicated to garlic…
Here in the Orchard County, Richhill has been celebrating the locally grown Armagh Bramley Apple since 2014.
This year, the Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre returns to its full five-day format for the first time since the pandemic, with daily events from Wednesday, October 26.
On Saturday, October 29 all roads lead to the Richhill for the Apple Fayre, which last year attracted more than 4,000 people.
The fayre sees the centre of Richhill transformed with a stage for live entertainment, craft and market stalls, and a variety of food producers – all with an apple twist where possible.
“Richhill is situated in the heart of the Orchard County, the main apple growing area in Northern Ireland. Our famous Armagh Bramley Apples are grown commercially on over 100 farms concentrated in the Richhill and Loughgall area,” said Ruth Briggs, one of the organisers of the Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre.
“The festival takes place at the end of October to coincide with the end of the apple harvest, recognising the importance and value that apple growing brings to our local community.
“The Armagh Bramley Apple enjoys protected status, putting it up there with Champagne, Parma Ham and Welsh Leeks, so that in itself is something worth celebrating.”
There will also be a fireworks display and a quiz night. Another of the highlights of the 2022 Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre will be a cookery demonstration from Molly Cunningham of Ballytrim Pantry.
“I don’t want to give away too much, but I will be using the famous PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Armagh Bramley Apples in both the main course and the dessert,” said Molly Cunningham, holding back some detail about the delicious meal she will be cooking on the night of her demonstration (Thursday 27th October).
“I am very keen to show everyone that apples are something that can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.
“The desert dates back a good few generations as it is a recipe handed down from my great grandmother.”
Children are the focus of the festival on the Friday night with the return of “Alternative Hallowe’en”, supported by the local Methodist church.
This event, which ends with fireworks lighting up the skies above Richhill, is focused on family fun, games and activities.
Looking forward to this year’s Apple Fayre, Ruth Briggs added: “If you haven’t been to the main day of our festival on the Saturday, you really are missing an absolutely fantastic day out in the lovely setting of our historic village.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet and talk to local artisan food and cider producers. You can also sample their produce as well as seeing what’s on offer at a wide range of craft stalls, all while listening to some terrific live music.
“You’d be apple-solutely mad to miss out again and we of course guarantee you a warm Orchard County welcome in Richhill.”