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Apples, Pumpkins & P.Y.O.

The weekend of the 14th-16th October is the last weekend for PYO 2016, however after this we will have apples available in the farm shop for some time!  

Norfolk Royal Apples

Few people have heard of the Norfolk Royal apple and indeed, as far as we know, Castle Farm is the only commercial grower of this rare and beautiful variety. (It is one of the few apple trees that will grow happily on the chalky soils of the North Downs.) Ripening in early September, the apple is a distinctive bright red and develops a natural waxy skin as it matures. Sweet, juicy and full of flavour, it is best eaten fresh from the tree (or as early in the season as possible). When cooked is has a soft consistency like Bramleys – but much, much sweeter.

We supply a few boxes of apples to markets around the country in September, but it’s not the sort of apple that you will find in a supermarket because it bruises easily and won’t withstand rough handling.

Cox Apples

For keeping and storing, you need to buy our traditional Cox apples which are grown on alternate rows in the same orchard. Small and flavoursome, they are ideal for lunchboxes or as children’s snacks.

Pick Your Own Apple Orchard

To sample the true delight of a Norfolk Royal, visit our pretty little Pick Your Own orchard from mid-September to mid-October when you will also find our cox apples, local Bramleys, pears and the Kent Cob hazel nuts – a seasonal speciality.

See our Events Diary for the apple-picking season or sign up to our e-newsletter to be kept informed of orchard opening dates and times.

Our delicious Apple Juice

Castle Farm’s unique apple juice balances the sweet taste of Norfolk Royals with the fresh sharpness of Kentish Bramleys to produce a refreshing drink, especially good when chilled. Available only from the shop and a few selected retailers.

  • Apple Lavini – For a summer party drink, try this refreshing apple and lavender combination: half a glass of chilled apple juice, half a glass of chilled sparkling wine and a single drop of Cold Lavender Essence on top.
  • Mulled Apple and Ginger Punch –  for a warming winter drink, try this recipe: Heat 1 litre of apple juice with 125ml of ginger wine, add a small stick of cinnamon, a few cloves, a pinch of nutmeg and lemon juice. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. It’s a great non-alcoholic drink for Christmas parties.



Our home-grown pumpkins come in a range of shapes and sizes from the tasty little ‘rolet’ that can be baked whole, to the versatile butternut squashes, the smooth orange-fleshed ‘Crown Prince’, the stripey ‘Harlequin’ and the traditional orange Hallowe’en varieties. When choosing a pumpkin, it should have a smooth skin and be firm to the touch. Smaller pumpkins contain more flesh and are best for eating.

Squashes are available in a wide variety of weird and wonderful shapes, sizes and colours from the familiar pumpkin to the more exotic spaghetti squash. Choose squashes that feel firm and dense, not hollow. The beauty of squashes is that all types, whatever their size or shape, can be used in any recipe in place of another (with the exception of spaghetti squash). Seasonal availability: September to November/December depending on variety. To store: Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month.

Butternut Squash

With a slightly sweet, buttery flavour and a firm texture this golden-orange fleshed variety is a popular choice. With a pale creamy-brown skin and a similar shape to a rounded pear, butternut squash are
15-20cm long.

Uses: Suitable for baking, roasting or boiling and mashing. Delicious in soups and risottos. Puréed butternut squash make a delicious baby food.To prepare: Peel, remove the seeds and chop into chunks for boiling and roasting. For baking, leave whole and simply wash and pierce the flesh with a sharp knife. To cook: boil cubed butternut squash for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Roast chunks for 40-50 minutes at 200oC, gas mark 6, or until tender, peel and discard the skin and seeds and cut into chunks to add to dishes.

Gem Squash or Rolet

One of the smallest members of the squash family, gem squashes are about the size of an onion. They are dark green and are just the right size for stuffing.

Uses: Stuff whole gem squash with chopped vegetables and cooked rice. Or quarter and roast with thyme and serve with pork or slice and grill with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. To prepare: Wash and remove the top and deseed. Leave whole or slice or quarter – gem squash do not need to be peeled. To cook: boil whole prepared squash for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Bake stuffed squash for 1 hour at 200oC, gas mark 6 or until tender. Roast sliced gem squash for 30-40 minutes at 200oC, gas mark 6, drizzled with olive oil and thyme.

Crown Prince

Royalty – number one in the squash- fancier’s lexicon and a great keeper. Perfect for roasting and holds its shape in a creamy korma. Moistens cakes, combines with eggs and cream for a sweet pie filling or with cheese for a savoury quiche. Add to potato, peppers, onions, plum tomatoes and garlic for a winder ratatouille, or, for a quick first course: chunk, thread onto skewers with slivers of lemon, trickle with oil, sprinkle with oregano, grill and serve with tzatziki.

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