HOW do you like these apples?

A group of villages who wanted to stop unwanted apples from going to waste collected a whopping 1.2 tonnes of fruit over two months.

That's the weight of two African elephants, or all the volunteers who helped with the harvest.

The Wheatley waste warriors are now dishing out their free fruit to local schools, old people's homes, the Women's Institute and even shops on the high street.

This week tiny fruit fans at the village's Maple Tree Children's Centre were using just some of the colossal crop to make crumble.

Tim Blightman, chairman of Sustainable Wheatley which organised the harvest, said: "That is wonderful to see.

"It's so good because it involved the community, and that's what we wanted.

"We were very pleased we managed to pick all that we could find and also find a use for most of it."

The low-carbon group first attempted the village-wide harvest in 2015 when the volunteers picked 357kg of pears, apples and quinces from eight trees in just eight hours.

They distributed their harvest to community groups around the area, even giving some of their quinces to Raymond Blanc's famous Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons restaurant in Great Milton, and pressed a thirst-quenching 80 litres of apple juice.

Mr Blightman, a retired marketing executive, said: "It was all about stopping food going to waste – that's why we also run our four swap-shops a year.

"We saw all this fruit around the village – because there used to be orchards here – but it wasn't getting picked.

"Some people are too elderly to pick the fruit on their own trees, so we're just trying to get it used."

Last year's harvest was even more successful than the first, with some 500kg being collected.

This year they were hoping to pick even more, but were blown away by the glut of fruit weighing down branches around the village.

Mr Blightman, 64, said: "It was incredible.

"There is a belief with apples that every other year they do fantastically well, and the trees were certainly very much more laden this year.

"The fruit also came a lot earlier, at the end of August, so we weren't even ready when they started arriving."

Mr Blightman and his wife Gill, co-chairman of the group, quickly rounded up more than a dozen harvest helpers, their children and grandchildren, and set to work.

In total they went out eight or nine times until they had picked every piece of fruit they could.

Today the group is going to try and get rid of as much of the remaining fruit as possible at a mass apple pressing at the Merry Bells hall from 10.30am to 1pm.