From creating a menu to serving up snacks, hospitality students at Walsall College gave their full support to Walsall Arboretum User Group’s (WAUG) recent Apple Day.
The event took place at the Arboretum for the first time since 2019. It encourages local residents to come together and celebrate the vast apple yield from the trees in the arboretum orchard.
Dishes made by the students all contained apples and plums grow in the orchard. They included chorizo and apple sausage rolls, plum fool with an apple and ginger cookie crumb, apple strudel and apple and cinnamon cookies. They also made beetroot and apple and celeriac and apple soups; all of which were served by them and college staff in the pavilion.
Jessica Dalton was one of the student volunteers at the event.
She said: “People were queuing out the door to try our food, with our sausage rolls and soups getting sold out in 20 minutes. It made us proud of what we achieved.”
“I loved every minute,” added student, Jessica Blewitt. “It’s a great feeling to know people are enjoying your food, especially when it’s for such a nice event like Apple Day.
“It’s boosted my confidence about what I can cook and helped me think more creatively about the ingredients I can include in my dishes.”
Money raised from the sale of the students’ food has been donated to WAUG to purchase a new apple tree for the orchard.
Fiona McMillan, WAUG volunteer added: “We were so pleased that Walsall College hospitality were involved once more in Apple Day. We know their food is a great attraction for many people, and we had a bumper crop this year and plums too.
“Our tiny kitchen is a bit of a challenge to serve food in, but the students rose to the occasion brilliantly, we are so grateful. One of our group wants the cookie recipe; best thing she has ever tasted.”
David Higgins, Curriculum Manager for Hospitality at the college said: “Our students have always regarded Apple Day as a way of marking the start of Autumn and giving something back to the community that they are a part of.
“The dishes they produced and served bought out the flavour of the orchard’s apples and plums to great effect. They also symbolised the event’s ethos of preservation and sustainable living through waste reduction and using natural resources.”
He added: “With event visitors encouraged to bring empty bottles in which to take away freshly juiced and pressed apples, we’ve hopefully inspired them to recreate some of the dishes they enjoyed back in their own homes.”