By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Sep 29 2017 11:00AM
29th September is also known as Michaelmas Day or the Feast of St. Michael, and marks the start of the new agricultural year.
The end of the main harvest season was historically marked with a final party before labourers returned to work. At the Michaelmas feast a "stubble goose", fattened on the stubble of the wheat fields, was usually the star of the show, so the day also became known as Goose Day.
Legend has it that it was Michaelmas Day when Queen Elizabeth heard that Francis Drake had defeated the Spanish Armada. She was supposedly tucking into a goose when the messenger arrived and so she vowed to eat it every Michaelmas from then on.
According to folklore, Michaelmas is also the last day that blackberries should be picked. It's said that, because St. Michael kicked Lucifer out of heaven, the devil spits (or worse) on the fruits and they will soon be spoiled or even poisonous. Of course, there's no real truth in that but in the old calendar Michaelmas Day fell on 10th October and they do tend to be past their best by mid-autumn. Because of this, it's also traditional to end a Michaelmas feast with a pie made with the last blackberries of the season.