Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

UK: Sun delivers early apple harvest

09:06 08 August 2014

Braeburn apples in an orchard at Stocks Farm in Worcestershire.

Braeburn apples in an orchard at Stocks Farm in Worcestershire.

A spot of fine British weather is helping deliver an early apple harvest with growers promising shoppers a crop with “great crunchiness and lots of taste” across the board.

Workers thin trees in the Braeburn apple orchard at Stocks Farm in Worcestershire ahead of the start of the harvest.Workers thin trees in the Braeburn apple orchard at Stocks Farm in Worcestershire ahead of the start of the harvest.

This year’s apple harvest is set to start three weeks earlier than 2013, with early varieties already ripe for the picking, according to trade association English Apples & Pears.

While shoppers will have to wait until mid-September to see more popular varieties like Gala on the supermarket shelves, that is still set to come about a week earlier than average.

Adrian Barlow, chief executive of English Apples & Pears, said earlier croppers like Discovery had already started reaching the shelves of independent retailers by last week.

The mild spring and warmer sunny weather has meant good news for all types of growers, with stone fruit like plums and cherries, and pears all doing well.

Mr Barlow said the conditions had been kinder to apples than the last couple of years, which had been beset with poor weather, but it was too early to make comparison’s with 2011’s peak.

“Last year we had a very late crop, and we lost three to four weeks of varieties not being on the shelf at the supermarket so we lost that shelf space, and that made life difficult.

“But this year, all told, things are looking very promising for the coming season.

“Quality is extremely good, we’ve had a lot of sunny weather, meaning taste will be very good, and the texture and colour will be extremely good.

“As far as the shopper is concerned they’ll be very happy with the eating quality.

“The apples will have great crunchiness, lots of taste, and a good size.”

Early varieties set to appear on shop shelves include Galmac, Delbar Estival, followed by Worcester Pearmain.

Mr Barlow said chefs’ favourite the Bramley apple was also “looking good”, adding “people will enjoy cooking with that variety this autumn”.

At Stocks Farm in Suckley near Malvern in Worcestershire, the Capper family grow 100 acres of apples some of which go to supply HP Bulmer and are also used in the manufacture of Magners cider.

However, the majority of their modern and mechanised apple growing operation is dedicated to dessert or eating apple varieties; top-selling Gala, popular Braeburn, and locally-discovered Red Windsor.

All are late cropping and picked in September, but the farm hands are already out among the long rows of heavily-laden apple trees carrying out a “late thinning” - a commonplace industry practice where some of the fruit is taken off the tree to ensure healthier long-term growth.

Alison Capper who runs the farm with husband Richard just a few miles from the rolling Malvern Hills, said: “On the whole it’s looking like a really nice crop and it’s all down to the weather.

“We’ve had lovely weather, we’ve had rain when we’ve wanted it, although some parts of the country have been drier than we’d have wanted.

“We’ve had some disease pressures which we always get with our climate, which might mean the skins aren’t absolutely perfect in some cases.

“But generally-speaking, the crunch is going to be juicy and delicious.”

She added the season was on track to be a “good average”, but growers would be more than happy with such a result following the “tough conditions” which led to last year’s late crop, which hit the industry in its pocket, and the “wettest year on record” in 2012.

Mrs Capper also said that UK consumers should be confident that British apples were among the best globally for standards of sustainable growing practices.

She added: “So, when the consumer is making a choice between British, American, South African, New Zealand or South American, the British apple is the one that’s least likely to have had as much irrigation, and it will have been produced to some of the highest farm standards in the world.

“When you’re standing in the supermarket trying to make a choice, British is the best choice you can make.”



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Dr John Ashdown-Hill from Lawford is made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.  Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A historian who was instrumental in the discovery of Richard III’s remains has today been presented with an MBE.

Police attended to the incident

A car has crashed into a house in Bury St Edmunds and destroyed a fish tank.

Miss Teen Suffolk Emma Collingridge who is opening Framlingham Sausagefest, with orgainsers Jenny Stockman and Richard Harrison.

Organisers behind Framlingham’s annual SausageFest have said they are expecting a record number of visitors to the event tomorrow.

Police are investigating the incident

Police have issued CCTV images of three people they are keen to identify following a theft from a Co-op supermarket in Felixstowe

The River Alde from Snape looking towards the sea.

Consultation will start next month on proposals for the future management of one of Suffolk’s most precious but vulnerable estuaries.

Police attended the accident

Emergency services have been called to a crash between a car and a cyclist in Colchester.

The Robin Hood Country Show will feature a jousting display.

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are our top ideas.

Pedestrian rail crossing just off Mount Road, Bury St Edmunds.

Lifesaving police officers who pulled a drunk and suicidal man off the train tracks near Bury St Edmunds seconds before a train flew past are up for a national bravery award.

Broomhill Swimming Pool in Ipswich has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. L-R: Robyn Llewellyn (head of Heritage Lottery Fund - East of England), Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Tim Mills, Garath Jones and Mark Ling.

Broomhill pool in Ipswich could reopen to the public at Easter 2018 – its 80th anniversary – after its re-opening proposals got the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Average speed camera.

Average speed cameras on the A12 on the Essex and Suffolk border have not yet been switched on – three months after they were installed.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages