AN apple-themed day saw Shoreham pupils plant an orchard, then cook with local varieties of the fruit.
Infinity Foods joined forces with Brighton Permaculture Trust to help children at Buckingham Park Primary School plant their own orchard on Thursday.
Workshops throughout the day gave pupils the chance to use an apple press to make fresh juice and taste different varieties before making apple crumble.
Deputy head Karyn Astle said the orchard was being planted on the former building site, now that the extension to the school, in Buckingham Road, was complete.
“We thought it was a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn about the environment and where their food comes from.
“It also helps develop the school grounds, which are an ongoing project.”
Water butts will be put in nearby to help the children with watering during the summer.
Ms Astle added: “The children are going to look after the trees, so they are fully involved with the orchard.”
Bryn Thomas, the trust’s fruit projects manager, helped the children bang in sweet chestnut stakes then plant the trees, which included rare Sussex apple varieties like Saltcote Pippin and Golden Bounty.
He said: “We have got all different trees, which are being spread out to give them room to grow. They can’t be crammed in.
We are teaching the children about leaving a legacy for the futureRobin van Creveld
“We are planting the trees that flower at the same time next to each other, so it is easier for the bees to do their job as pollinators.”
The children helped to mix the soil with special food and used spades to fill in the holes once the trees were in place.
Project manager Anne-Marie Bur, from Orchard Without Borders – Vergers sans Frontières, said pupils also found out about the wildlife value of orchards.
“The trees could be providing the school with fresh fruit for decades to come,” she added.
“Two members of staff will receive a day’s training in fruit tree care and aftercare visits will help ensure the trees thrive.”
Robin van Creveld from Community Chef, a non-profit social enterprise, ran an apple workshop, where the children compared local and imported varieties then made apple crumble.
Since 2001, his work has focused on encouraging people to cook healthy, fresh food and campaigning for a sustainable, ethical food system for all.
“We are teaching the children about leaving a legacy for the future,” he explained.
“They learned where apples came from originally and about the importance of using local food.”
The children were asked to compare well-known, shop-bought apples, like Granny Smith, with ones grown locally, considering the taste, colour and feel of the fruit.
Infinity Foods, based in Dolphin Road, Shoreham, is one of the UK’s leading wholesale distributors of organic and natural foods.
The company has for some years sponsored Apple Day in Stanmer Park, Brighton, and has strengthened its links with the permaculture trust by sponsoring school orchard plantings.
Infinity is also sponsoring the trust’s upcoming crowdfunding campaign, to raise funds to complete a straw bale fruit factory in Stanmer.