This morning Adrian Barlow, the chief executive of the Trade Association for English Apples and Pears, was on BBC's Radio 4 Today programme. He was enthusiastically speaking about how peoples reconnection with local produce is leading to a renaissance of the english apple industry.
Apple growers are selling increasing numbers into our supermarkets. There is a high demand for English varieties, which is being led by consumer demand. "At a time when the finances of the country are under a bit of pressure" he said "I reckon we've saved £51m in terms of imports since 2003". This resurgent interest is allowing growers to invest in planting orchards and also new varieties of the fruit.
In England our apple picking season normally begins in late August and early September, but this year certain varieties, such as the Discovery, are being picked during July. Of course, this is in due in no small part to the extraordinary UK weather we have experienced over the past year. The very cold spell late in 2010 placed many apple tree varieties into an early sleep, but they were shocked into an early cycle in mid-March and through April as the unseasonably hot spell brought our plant life and pollinators to life.
With many English apples cropping at different times, it looks as though apples bearing the Union Jack logo will be set to be available right through until Spring 2012.
In each issue of Permacutlure magazine we often write about the growing and harvesting of apples and fruit and about the importance of this to local communities. We are keen to keep growing traditional varieties of English apples. We hope that such a positive introduction to English apples encourages more people to seek out our most abundant fruit.