The English Apple Man logo

The English Apple Man

The English Apple Man is a website dedicated to informing consumers about how the apples they buy in Supermarkets, Greengrocers, Farm Shops and other outlets are grown, harvested and marketed.

 

 

The Journals give a weekly update on events in our English apple orchards, using pictures and video clips to follow seasonal activities and giving the consumer a level of detail not available from any other source.

 

All aspects of growing, harvesting, storage, grading, packing and marketing are included enabling consumers to understand the challenges English growers face in supplying our sophisticated market place.

 

 

 

 

While there is enthusiastic support for older traditional varieties from dedicated interest groups and supportive media, the English Apple Man will endeavour to explain why support for the mainstream commercial production of English apples is vital to a sustainable apple industry in this country, delivering recognised benefits to the health of our consumers while maintaining our diverse and beautiful countryside.

 

Varieties grown commercially are relatively few in number, when matched against the 2300 varieties on display at The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent and while there is an increasing desire by all parties to retain and where possible reintroduce the best of our heritage varieties, the sustainability of our apple acreage depends on no more than a dozen varieties.

 

 

 

 

However, that does not mean we should dismiss all the efforts of growers determined to maintain our many heritage varieties, we must support all our producers, whether they be small in acreage, selling directly to the consumer, or large scale operations growing a thousand acres or more and totally dependent on supplying our supermarkets.

 

The History of The English Apple Man is a story of a lifetime spent in the industry, as a boy straight out of school, then as a young man developing all the practical knowledge of growing and later taking on the management of the family fruit farm, then changing course to join the major supplier of English Apples in a technical role and finally becoming Technical Director with a responsibility for product and environmental safety, product quality, and technical innovation.

 

Now retired, The English Apple Man will bring his unique experience of the English apple industry to all who visit the English Apple Man website.

 

 

News

 

20/10/2023
National Fruit Show 2023

 

This year the 2023 National Fruit Show celebrates its 90th Anniversary on November Wednesday 1st November

 

 

 

See full article

Latest Journals

 

24/05/2024
ELECTION

 

With an Election announced for 4th July The English Apple Man is 'pondering over what to write' for this week's Journal

 

Before I continue, I was delighted to hear my good friends Nick Dunn and his daughter Steph' have enjoyed success at The Chelsea Flower Show with their new ornamental cherry; STARLIGHT

 

Below: From their website

 

In cased you missed it, Prunus 'Starlight'R has been awarded the highly coveted title of RHS Plant of the Year 2024. Nick and Steph have been down at Chelsea telling experts and journalists all about it. Prunus 'Starlight'R was hosted on the GreenJjam Nurseries stand in the Grand Pavilion!

 

Stephanie Dunn James, Director of the tree nursery Frank P Matthews, said the tree features white, star-shaped flowers. "the variety was originally bred in 2006, but woody trees take a long time to trial and breed." The Prunus 'Starlight' is particularly unique as it is one of only a couple of varieties that flower in winter.

 

 

 

See full article

 

17/05/2024
Apple Growers visit Downing Street

 

Below: Apple Growers Carmella Meyer and James Simpson

 

Carmella Meyer and James Simpson attended 10 Downing Street yesterday for the FarmToFork summit. Have you seen the headlines? We're absolutely delighted with the pledges - The future of British orchards and the growth of British apple and pear volumes is definitely looking brighter today!

 

It was a privilege to represent all British top fruit growers. Whilst there is still much not working as well as it could with the fresh produce supply chain in the UK, people are listening.

 

 

 

Press release - PM sets out blueprint to boost British fruit and vegetable sector: May 13 2024

 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sets out his blueprint to boost British fruit and vegetable sector as the first UK Food Security Index is published.

 

A new UK Food Security Index will be published tomorrow , as the Prime Minister tells British farmers and growers that we must go further to support them and secure the nation's food supplies.

 

The first draft of the UK Annual Food Security Index will allow the government, industry and farmers to monitor the impacts of external factors, such as Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine or extreme adverse weather events.

 

It will set out how Government will track UK-wide food security on an annual basis, monitoring domestic food production, land use, input costs and farmer productivity. This year's index will show that the UK farming sector is at its most productive since records began.

 

 

 

See full article

 

10/05/2024
British Asparagus season is now under way!

 

British Asparagus

 

 

 

 

 

This week will feature British Asparagus, the finest Asparagus available to the UK Consumer, but only for a relatively short time.

 

In my opinion, British Asparagus, British Strawberries & British Strawberries are 'unmatched' for texture & flavour!

 

While my life has been dominated by apples, an appreciation of fine food is high in my loves in life

 

 

 

To quote George Bernard Shaw: "There is no love sincerer than than the love of food"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The English Apple Man and English Asparagus

 

Back in 1996, Victor Aveling of The Asparagus Growers Association approached ENFRU (The English Fruit Company) with a view to ENFRU marketing asparagus due to the lack of commitment (and financial return) from specialist Asparagus traders who supplied 12 months of the year with imported/UK mix.

 

At that time I was leading the technical team at ENFRU and with my commercial colleagues had to create a procedures and quality manual structure aligned to our existing procedures approved for Supermarkets. In addition I visited all the asparagus growers who were members of AGA to audit and advise on individual sites improvements needed to meet Supermarkets requirement standards.

 

I particularly remember visiting Victor and his wife with my commercial colleague Graham Basset and invited for lunch, encountered for the first time Mrs Aveling's home made 'asparagus soup' - verdant, delicious and after two bowls, possibly inducing mild symptoms of dyspepsia!

 

In 1976, March farmer Victor Aveling took the plunge and decided to shift away from growing potatoes, wheat and strawberries to growing asparagus.

 

Victor 'a larger than life' character was passionate about English as opposed to imported asparagus and wanted 'English to be recognised as superior and growers rewarded financially.

 

Andy Allen

 

Another grower who I particularly enjoyed visiting was Andy Allen at Portwood Asparagus in Norfolk.

 

Andy was back then a very progressive grower, his quality and presentation outstanding. But I particularly remember his asparagus packhouse which was set in an old 'Tudor barn' - 'talk about wow factor' - I could just imagine this scene photographed in a M&S magazine!

 

Rock on nearly 30 years and Andy Allen's business is one of the leading asparagus enterprises.

 

Unfortunately it was a 'one year adventure' as we (ENFRU) could not raise prices from Supermarkets and compete with established suppliers as they subsidised price of UK product from 10 month supply of cheaper imported product.

 

 

 

See full article

 

03/05/2024
News

 

This week the English Apple Man features the latest news from British Apples and Pears website

 

In my Journal for 19th April, I reported on the BAPL AGM and a presentation by Ged Futter. Lots of 'pragmatism' from Ged and my summary which suggests a very challenging future for British apple growers.

 

While my gut feeling is much the same and I believe we are in for some considerable upheaval with many growers either 'selling up' or at he very least 'grubbing up' and moving out of apple production into cereals (where possible) or something requiring short term investment rather than the long term investment of growing apple trees, Is there a semblance of hope on the horizon?

 

Certainly Al Capper BAPL Executive Chair presents some elements of optimism in the latest BAPL News Letter.

 

New six month sales data from BAPL

 

"Six months since the start of the British apple and pear season (starting October 2023), British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) has analysed which supermarkets have surpassed last year's performance and which are lagging behind.

 

Of the 10 supermarkets analysed, seven managed to increase the volume of British apples and pears bought from BAPL growers compared to the same period in 2022/23. The top performers were Sainsbury's which bought 2,737 more tonnes of British apples and pears and Lidl which bought 2,597 more tonnes than the previous year.

 

Tesco has fallen just slightly behind its 2022/23 performance - selling 714 tonnes fewer British apples and pears in the first six months of the season. However, it was hampered by a slow start in October and is now catching up with the other top performers.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, not all supermarkets have improved in terms of supporting British apples and pears and buying more this season compared to last. The biggest underperformer was Morrisons, selling 2,613 fewer tonnes between October and March 2023/24 compared to the same period in 2022/23.

 

"Things are getting very tight at the top of the league table this year." Explained executive chair of BAPL, Ali Capper. "Aldi is currently beating Tesco, but only by 333 tonnes. Sainsbury's and Lidl are both closing the gap on the top two. It's going to be fascinating to see how the rest of the year turns out"

 

"We're delighted that most supermarkets are buying more British apples and pears than they were this time last year. We know that's what consumers want, and we welcome the recent moves by some supermarkets to make it easier for online shoppers to choose British. That's another great step towards making buying British as easy as possible."

 

 

 

See full article

 

26/04/2024
Apple and Pear News

 

This week The English Apple Man is assisted by fruit industry friends who sent me reports on a blossom walk and the largest pear orchard in Britain.

 

East Kent Fruit Society Blossom Walk

 

The EKFS event took place at Ham Green Farm Upchurch Kent by kind permission of Robert Hinge.

 

Robert and his son John are the 4th and 5th generations respectively of A Hinge & Sons and are responsible for the fruit growing side of the business. As well as the fruit they have around 3000 acres of combinable crops.

 

Below: left, Robert Hinge and Right. John Hinge

 

 

The fruit is grown on 4 sites at Norton, Borden, Newington and Upchurch.

 

The total area of fruit is approximately 250 acres made up of cherries 17a, plums 14a, apricots 3a, pears 13a. Apples are made up of Jazz 70a, Pink Lady 20a, Gala 30a, Braeburn 5a, Kissabel 8a Crimson Crisp 20a, Bramley 17a, Granny Smith 5a, Gala Wildfire 5a.

 

Other niche varieties including Mona Lisa, Ladina, & Amelia make up the rest.

 

They have 5000 bins of storage and are about to start building a further 3500 bins of storage at Norton. Sales and marketing is all through Fruition's agents, primarily Worldwide Fruit.

 

During the evening there were two presentations from scientists at NIAB:

 

Mat Papp-Rupar: Exploring the links between soil microbiome and carbon sequestration in a cross-section of agricultural soils (Growing Kent & Medway funded project) On the left

 

Francis Wamonje: Development of pheromones for innovative management of forest bug, an emerging pest of orchards in England (Defra FIP Project). On the right

 

<

 

The English Apple Man Comments: the attendance of NIAB scientists at EKFS events is now well established and allows regular updates by NIAB personnel and valuable face to face discussion between growers and scientists

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

19/04/2024
AGM's x Two and end of an era.

 

This week, The English Apple Man attended the AGM's of Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) and British Apple and Pears (BAPL) held in unison at NIAB at East Malling.

 

An early morning start on Wednesday as I left home at 7.30am in good time for my arrival at NIAB at East Malling where the MFSS AGM was scheduled for 9am.

 

This arrangement was an obvious format (but not done before) as many attendees would naturally be supportive of each category.

 

The facility is superb, The Mumford Building an ideal venue.

 

The £11.3 million GreenTech Hub for Advanced Horticulture was officially opened by Tom Tugendhat MP at NIAB's East Malling site on Thursday 12 May 2022.

 

The GreenTech Innovation Hub building, was renamed the Mumford Building in July 2023. The building is dedicated to Professor John Mumford, long-time trustee and former Chair of the East Malling Trust, who sadly passed away in December 2022.

 

Click on: The Green Tech Hub

 

 

 

See full article

 

12/04/2024
Blossom is early this year

 

The weather has been wet and miserable for ages, but apparently warmer than average, either way, the Blossom is on the early side!

 

In my days growing apples in Kent, we expected full bloom around 7-9 May. Of course the varieties were predominately Cox Orange Pippin and Bramley culinary apples, plus pollinating varieties like Discovery, Worcester Pearmain et al.

 

Today the main dessert varieties are Gala and Braeburn with Jazz, Envy, Smitten. These varieties all naturally flower earlier than the older varieties of my youth. But the 'global warming' phenomenon has resulted in earlier seasons by around 2-3 weeks.

 

Cox and Bramley are currently in Pink Bud so I anticipate they will be in full bloom next week: circa mid April. (2-3 weeks earlier than in my days growing primarily Cox.

 

Below: left. Braeburn at pink bud last week and right. Braeburn in full bloom yesterday

 

 

To view one of the English Apple Man Journals with the most beautiful display of apple trees in full bloom: Click on: Full Bloom in 2011

 

See full article

 

05/04/2024
Sparkling Grape Juice and April Showers

 

This week The English Apple Man visited Biddenden Vineyards in search of a new product; Biddenden Sparkling Grape Juice.

 

There I caught up with Julian Barnes head of the family business started more than 50 years ago by his father and mother

 

As a lover of Red Wine - "well all wine actually" - I had heard Tom Barnes (Julian's son) had more Gamay grapes at harvest than he needed for their Biddenden Gamay Wine, so decided to try something new.

 

Inspired to find an enjoyable drink for my evening tipple, while trying to reduce my alcohol intake, I set off for Gribble Ridge home of Biddenden Vineyard.

 

While tasting the Sparkling Grape Juice, I discussed with Julian the world of farming, the challenges facing fruit growers and farmers and the rapid rise in UK Viticulture (much of it in the South of England but not confined to the South with Vineyards established in Wales)

 

Originally home to a 40 acre apple orchard, Julian's parents Richard and Joyce started to consider diversifying the farm in the late 1960s as apple prices began to decline. After listening to a feature on the BBC's Woman's Hour programme about English vineyards being replanted, Joyce Barnes was inspired to turn to viticulture. In 1969, one third of an acre of vines was planted and Biddenden Vineyards was born.

 

Julian runs Biddenden Vineyards alongside his wife Sally and son Tom, Julian's other sons, Sam and Will, also work in the viticultural area of agriculture. Julian is also Chairman KCAS (Kent County Agricultural Show.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

29/03/2024
It's my Birthday

 

Another year passes by and Today 29th March is my 82nd Birthday

 

Oh how time flies, when we are children it seems to drag so slowly. Now the weeks race by faster than the days used to. One wonders what awaits us, as friends pass on with increasing frequency!

 

Sorry for my gloomy mood. Thankfully my family are spoiling me today and I am looking forward to a nice meal and a few drinks this evening!!!

 

Regular readers will be familiar with my usual subjects, primarily apples, or matters important to apple growers!

 

This week, I am mixing nostalgia with events of today!

 

Reflecting on my life and highlighting the Tractor Rally in London this week. publicising the 'unfair challenges' faced by British Farmers & Growers.

 

See full article

 

22/03/2024
British Apple & Pears Manifesto

 

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL), the organisation representing commercial top fruit growers, has published its first ever manifesto ahead of a 2024 general election.

 

Designed to provide all political parties with clear guidance on how best to secure the future of the British apple and pear industry, the manifesto sets out ten clear actions.

 

 

 

Below: BAPL Executive Chair Ali Capper on her family farm

 

"Any new British government has a great opportunity to turn around the current crisis facing UK apple and pear growers." Explained Ali Capper, executive chair of BAPL. "We have set out clear steps that we believe are both necessary and practical to achieve that.

 

"We understand that there will be many competing priorities for any new government, but the actions in our manifesto have extremely far-reaching and positive impacts. Implementing these actions will help ensure domestic food security, support the rural economy, our environment and the health of the nation. Those ambitions should be firmly on the agenda of any government."

 

The ten actions in the BAPL manifesto concern a range of issues from fair contracts with supermarkets to labour, environmental protection and innovation.

 

 

BAPL will be sending the manifesto directly to the leaders of all the main political parties as well as their key representatives for agriculture, farming, health, finance and labour.

 

"In addition to sending them our new manifesto, we will be offering face-to-face briefings with the political parties." Explained Ali Capper. "We are very keen to work with anyone who is open to our ideas for a stronger and sustainable British apple and pear industry."

 

 

 

See full article

 

15/03/2024
Growing Kent and Medway an Update

 

As mentioned in last week's Journal The English Apple Man visited Dr Robert Saville at NIAB at East Malling on Wednesday 6th March for an update on the progress of Growing Kent & Medway. My last visit was on 23 October 2023

 

Kent and Medway is home to some of the most exciting and innovative food and drink businesses in the UK and internationally. From growers of fresh fruit and vegetables, to food processes and makers, through to engineers and robotics specialists automating our supply chain.

 

I spent an hour over a coffee in the Orchard Restaurant at EMR, listening to Robert passionately explaining the opportunities for introducing more sustainable production via Growing Kent & Medway Business Sustainability Challenge

 

Robert said this Sustainability Challenge is really about 'inspiring & creating' a business model achieving it's 'own circular economy' with the potential to bring new products from waste generated by the primary product 'closing the loop' with a fully sustainable 'no waste' product

 

 

 

See full article

 

08/03/2024
A funny old week

 

This week The English Apple Man has had a 'funny old week'

 

Both my wife and I struggle with 'mobility' and receive help from a wonderful lady who specialises in Reflexology and Holistic Massage.

 

Monday and my wife and I were benefitting from Reflexology and Massage and on Tuesday, we were off to an NHS Clinic where my wife and her Consultant updated her progress, onto M&S for a light lunch and 'a bit of shopping'

 

Wednesday: The EAM visited Dr Robert Saville at NIAB East Malling to discuss the next stage of Growing in Kent & Medway and the opportunities for the development of grant aided development of sustainable projects.

 

Thursday: At home researching and writing this week's EAM Journal.

 

Friday: Continuing writing and in the afternoon attending Kent Farmer Ken Jenner's Memorial Service.

 

See full article

 

01/03/2024
Branded Apples? Join the Club!

 

In the Journal for 19th May 2023 The English Apple debated the future prosperity (?) of UK apple growers, and said; "Probably the only home grown apples able to earn a small profit at the moment are the Branded Club varieties. Like Jazz and Pink Lady".

 

Click on: English Apple Man Journal - 29/12/2023 - THE FUTURE

 

Poignantly - an article in The Fresh Produce Magazine by Fred Searle discusses the very subject of Branded varieties...

 

"For decades, own-label has dominated the fresh fruit and vegetable aisle at Britain's top supermarkets. But now high costs and tough market conditions are putting huge pressure on margins. So is own-label still the only game in town?

 

Shoppers like brands. They like food and drink brands too, but they almost never find them in the fresh produce section. We want to know if fresh fruit and vegetable brands can play a bigger role in future".

 

'The Power of Branding' is a new section of our website. Right here, over the next several months, we're looking at the new importance of brands for the fresh produce business in the UK.

 

A brand-new video series from FPJ in collaboration with Coregeo showcases the potential of branding for fresh produce marketers

 

Fresh Produce Journal

 

See full article

 

23/02/2024
East Malling Trust acquires Brogdale Farm

 

The East Malling Trust would like to announce the acquisition of Brogdale Farm

 

The home of the world's largest collections of fruit trees has been purchased by The East Malling Trust, the charity that champions the advancement of science in horticulture and agriculture.

 

The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale Farm is a living history and home to a rich variety of heritage fruit, curated by Reading University on behalf of DEFRA, with wardens from the Brogdale Collections charity managing access to it.

 

Its orchards contain more than 4,000 different varieties of apples, pears, cherries, plums, and other fruits and nuts, and the 150-acre farm has become a hub for fruit enthusiasts, researchers, and visitors from around the globe.

 

Bradbourne House is home to the Hatton Fruit Garden, formerly the walled kitchen garden, which takes its name from Sir Ronald Hatton, one of the most distinguished horticulturists of his generation, and which celebrates the art of tree forming and training fruit trees in different shapes.

 

History of Bradbourne House

 

Bradbourne House was previously the family home of the Twisden family since the early 18th century and was put up for sale when John Ramskill Twisden died without an heir. The house as it is seen today was built between 1712 and 1715 although there was a Tudor house on the site built in the late 1500s which has been considerably changed and altered over the years.

 

Bradbourne House remained in the ownership of one family, the Twisdens, for around 400 years before being purchased by what is now The East Malling Trust in 1938.

 

The House and park is closed to the public, but can be visited as part of a tour . For more information please contact The East Malling Trust eastmallingtrust.org.

 

Below: Bradbourne House today

 

 

The two organisations have a shared commitment to advancing research, conservation, and education in the field of fruit genetics. Dating back over 100 years, the East Malling campus has been at the forefront of pioneering advances in horticulture and has made substantial contributions to the fruit industry. The acquisition of Brogdale Farm further strengthens the Trust's commitment to fruit research and development.

 

 

 

See full article

 

16/02/2024
Stories from Home and Abroad

 

This week's English Apple Man Journal covers a number of different issues. Some from other countries and some from home

 

But first some sad news as yet another of the fruit farming fraternity that have been part of my 65 years involved in fruit growing has passed onto God's great orchards in heaven

 

Below: Ken Jenner

 

Ken Jenner

 

Kenneth John Jenner was born on 22nd July 1936 and was the older brother of David and sister Betty. He took over farming Great Sheephurst Farm, Marden, with his brother David, following the sudden and unexpected death of his father in 1956.

 

At that time the farm was 40ha consisting of predominantly hops which were blighted with verticillium wilt. These were quickly 'grubbed' and replaced with apples and in 1960 the opportunity to buy the neighbouring farm extended the area to 100ha. Two further farm purchases were made in 1987 and 1997, expanding the area to its current 200ha (40ha apples and 160ha arable).

 

Ken officially 'retired' from farming in 2016 following a very successful 60 year partnership with his brother David. He is succeeded by his wife, Gay and two sons Nigel and William.

 

Kenneth John Jenner was born on 22nd July 1936 and was the older brother of David and sister Betty. He took over farming Great Sheephurst Farm, Marden, with his brother David, following the sudden and unexpected death of his father in 1956.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

09/02/2024
Is this the future? Learning from the past!

 

It seems that lately The English Apple Man has reported on so many challenges facing our fruit industry, mainly due to our Supermarkets intransigence to the desperate need for trade fairness and sustainable prices back to the growers

 

But is there another way? Is the future for 'many' of our growers better managed by looking back to the farming principles of the past?

 

This week The English Apple Man visited James Smith at Loddington Farm's new farm shop, the next step in James determination to step back from the uncertainty and pressure of supplying Supermarkets.

 

Below: The new Loddington Farm Shop opened on 18 January this year

 

 

Loddington Farm is run by James Smith. After graduating from Reading University with a degree in crop science, he pursued a career in fresh produce, until 18 years ago, when he joined his father on his great, great grandfather's apple farm in the beautiful Kent countryside. James great, great grandfather was the first to plant BRAMLEY apples in Kent during the 1880's

 

OUR PRINCIPLES

 

In 2016 James was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship which enabled him to travel and look at ways of growing fruit for the UK market that could be profitable. Disillusioned with fruit growing in the UK due to concerns over the huge financial risks and the impact of chemicals on people's health, James decided to put his extensive knowledge and experience to use.

 

He was encouraged to start a programme of self-education to see how we can produce better food - and began a journey in producing food using nature, instead of chemistry in farming systems. In 2020 in one orchard 'he spent more money on books than agrochemicals' in the quest to grow chemical free food.

 

Over the last ten years, The English Apple Man has featured Loddington Farm in a number of my weekly Journals, capturing the journey from high quality apple and pear production and the transition to regenerative farming.

 

Click on Loddington Farm - Regenerative Farming

 

Click on 5 principles of regenerative farming

 

See full article

 

02/02/2024
Pruning apple trees - Part 2

 

This week. The English Apple Man follows on from last week's pruning of Braeburn apple trees on the tree structure used by the progressive growers of today, by looking back at styles of pruning more popular with previous generations and a practical demonstration by Nick Dunn of Frank P Matthews Nursery of the system still used today by most apple growers: namely the Centre Leader Tree.

 

100 years ago many apple trees were still grown on Standard Trees with branches starting circa 6 feet above the ground. by the post World War 2 periods growers were turning to Bush Trees grown on M2 rootstock, but rapidly taking up M9 rootstock allowing smaller trees planted closer together.

 

Around 1960 a few growers were adopting the Centre Leader Tree on M9 rootstock planted at 12ft x 6ft.

 

As time progressed the centre leader tree, or Spindle Bush as it was popularly named became the standard format.

 

This format, with a few exceptions (4 row beds) has been the standard for 50-60 years. Closing the planting distance in the row led to more intensive planting, leading to the Super Spindle, and eventually the Hedgerow/Fruit Wall system highlighted in last week's English Apple Man Journal.

 

But the centre leader / spindle bush is still the dominant format on any/most fruit farms today.

 

In this week's Journal two pruning videos by Nick Dunn from Frank P Mathews demonstrate how to prune one year old and more mature (4-5 year) centre leader trees.

 

See full article

 

26/01/2024
Pruning apple trees

 

Pruning apple trees

 

Over the next few weeks The English Apple Man will cover pruning apple trees, this week concentrating on the current style favoured by today's progressive growers. This system works best with modern varieties like Braeburn and Gala.

 

The English Apple Man introduces a friend who has been at the cutting edge of modern apple production and now as a semi retired Consultant offers his breadth of knowledge to anyone seeking his advice.

 

Below; Mark Holden

 

 

 

"Over a 35 year period, I have managed farms for two premier horticultural business in Kent, with my last role as Production Director for Adrian Scripps Ltd, growing apples, pears, grapes & blackcurrants.

 

 

 

I have been fortunate to travel to many other countries including New Zealand, South Africa , U.S.A & across Europe. Visiting other successful horticultural business & talking to other farmers and growers is such a valuable experience.

 

I started my own consultancy business in January 2023 with the aim of imparting some of my horticulture knowledge & practical farming skills to other growers in UK fruit industry.

 

Although I now live in mid- Wales, I still regularly visit Kent & Herefordshire to advise fruit growers on pruning, thinning, tree architecture & management".

 

Website: Mark Holden Consultancy

 

 

See full article

 

19/01/2024
British Pink Lady

 

Pink Lady, the number one global Club apple now growing successfully in Great Britain, albeit currently in the south.

 

The first British grown Pink Lady went on sale in February 2023

 

For the first time UK consumers could buy UK grown Pink Lady (albeit in very small quantities) as the first crop of UK Pink Lady is launched. Grown and marketed by Adrian Scripps Ltd and Worldwide Fruit Ltd growers. Volumes will rise next season (2023)

 

The most successful high value Global apple is Pink Lady. There are others like Jazz which has modelled it's marketing strategy on the success of Pink Lady. The success required an exceptional apple with great taste, texture and very 'uniform' visual appearance.

 

For consumers to buy, and repeat buy, uniformity must be delivered. Cripps Pink delivers the optimum eating quality and by setting a specification for high colour (minimum red colour) while licensing it as Pink Lady only to growers capable of meeting the high standard, plus controlling the volume grown to meet consumer demand and NOT exceeding it, delivers profit to the grower ensuring financial sustainability!

 

See full article

 

12/01/2024
Looking for FAIRNESS and Trying to be positive

 

On Tuesday, The English Apple Man watched the live broadcast on BBC Parliamentary TV programme where leading members of the farming community were questioned by EFRA about the unfair practices by Supermarkets.

 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its associated public bodies.

 

Below: Ali Capper, Guy Singh-Watson, Mrs Lizzie Wilson and Michael Oakes

 

Ali Capper - Executive Chair at British Apples and Pears Ltd

 

Guy Singh-Watson - Founder at Riverford Organic Farmers

 

Mrs Lizzie Wilson - Chief Executive at National Pig Association (NPA)

 

Michael Oakes - Dairy Board Chair at National Farmers Union

 

I had rarely watched Parliament TV, and never seen a live Select Committee event.

 

 

 

 

Quite apart from the serious nature and importance of the subject, I found the expertise and eloquence of the panel fascinating.

 

The session underlined how farming in general, is facing deep unfairness trading with our UK Supermarkets.

 

While Ali Capper is an industry colleague and friend, I had never heard Guy Singh-Watson speak on a public platform before. The business that he created, Riverford Organic Farmers does not deal with Supermarkets and he is able to argue on behalf of primary producers without the fear so many suppliers face!

 

Mrs Lizzie Wilson outlined the Unfairness faced by pig producers; the reduction of slaughterhouses compounding the difficulties facing pig farmers. Michael Oakes demonstrated the the shambolic world of 'aligned milk contracts' facing dairy farmers.

 

 

 

BAPL provides strong evidence and clear call for action to EFRA Committee

 

On Tuesday 9th January 2024, executive chair of BAPL, Ali Capper gave evidence to the EFRA (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Committee on Fairness in the Food Supply Chain

 

Ali reminded the committee that over the last two years, growers have faced a 30% increase in the cost of production. At the same time, returns to farmers have averaged just 8%.

 

Fundamentally, there's a big gap between the increases in costs facing growers and what they are receiving back from supermarkets.

 

FAIRNESS!

 

See full article

 

05/01/2024
Another New Year

 

Another New Year, they come around so quickly when you are my age!

 

When we hear the news, and analyse what is going on Globally, the wars and warmongers, the natural disasters, and the nasty world of on line hate messages, it can seem of little consequence the world of apples and farming that has been my life for over 60 years.

 

However, we each must do what ever we can to preserve the quality of the 'world we live in'

 

A very special Lady who has been at the helm of British farming for a number of years, is on the threshold of retirement from her position as President of The National Farmers Union and will soon be back on her farm leading a much quieter life than now!

 

 

Click on: Minette Batters VLOG

 

 

See full article

 

29/12/2023
The Future?

 

The English Apple Man reflects on the past and projects the future

 

My Journals have identified the real concern of the future of British apple growers over the last two seasons!

 

Negative price pressure by Supermarkets and the impact of war in Ukraine, resulting in high inflation has brought the industry to its knees.

 

Over the top protocol requirements, with individual Supermarkets aligning themselves with different protocols, requiring multiple audit/certification visits.

 

On social media, many growers have illustrated the desperate situation facing UK apple growers. It should be said that other sectors are also facing inflation v poor returns, and some have taken action by not planting certain salads etc. when high energy costs have made production unsustainable. Soft fruit growers have also cut back on production; 'with a wait and see policy' Top Fruit Growers (apples and pears) however cannot take short term positions and once the trees are grubbed, its very unlikely the land wil ever return to fruit growing!

 

The FUTURE - The English Apple Man's prognosis - A smaller British apple industry, but higher value products - Club Varieties!!

 

See full article

 

22/12/2023
The English Apple Man takes a look at Supermarkets and British Apples

 

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) has published sales figures for October 2023, which was British Apple Month and the first month proper of the British apple season.

 

This week The English Apple Man takes a closer look at the reasons behind the 'status quo'

 

Below: Sainsburys supported the new season with eye catching 'British Apple & Pear Displays in October

 

VIEW LATEST DATA

 

In October 2023, Lidl significantly outperformed its market share, buying 3,030 tonnes of new season British apples via BAPL members. This represents 22.1% of all British apple sales in October, compared to their grocery market share of just 7.6%

 

Unfortunately, other retailers have been slower to get behind new season British apples. In October 2022, Tesco topped the British apple sales chart with 2,902 tonnes. However, in October 2023 the UK's biggest supermarket only bought 1,325 tonnes of British apples. That's less than half its volume of October 2022.

 

 

 

See full article

 

15/12/2023
The English Apple Man pays tribute to a doyen of the Fruit & Cobnut industry and visits a pre Christmas machinery event.

 

The English Apple Man Journals......

 

 

My regular readers will have read my last two Journal editions totally focussed on Richard Dain and his remarkable Cobnut, Walnut and Piano business.

 

Well, just 2 miles as the crow flies, in the valley below, lies Roughway Farm where the Cannon Family have been growing Cobnuts and Fruit for over 50 years. The cobnut, which is a type of hazelnut, has been grown in Kent since the 1600s - and three generations of Cannons have won multiple awards for their crops. They cultivate 52 different varieties in orchards - known as plats - where some of the trees are 150 years old and still producing the nuts.

 

The death of John Cannon on 19th November meant the loss of a 'doyen' of the Fruit & Cobnut world

 

My personal memory of John was of a Gentleman; always charming and accommodating. I remember back in the early 1983 attending The National Farmers Union Annual Conference in London. As the Chairman of our small Hawkhurst and Sandhurst NFU Branch, who in rotation with other small branches, were eligible for an invitation that year, I set off for the annual opportunity for farmers across the country to vent their frustrations on Government representatives. That year the Welsh famers were in 'rebellious mood' and Minister of Agriculture Michael Jopling (now 93 year old Lord Jopling) was in the line of fire!

 

In the evening at the black tie Dinner, John as one of the senior NFU representatives on our table was very welcoming to this inexperienced young branch Chairman.

 

Over many years I have visited John and his son Giles at Roughway Farm walking apple orchards and Cobnut Plats.

 

John always looked totally at ease, wether in Black Tie and Dinner Jacket or in a Barbour on the farm!

 

 

 

See full article

 

08/12/2023
Music to my ears

 

After last week's Journal featuring Richard Dain's Cobnut adventure, this week The English Apple Man expands upon Richard's amazing world of Pianos.

 

In addition to being a working nut farm, Hurstwood Farm is also renowned as a supplier of exclusive hand-made pianos and is at the forefront of new technology in piano design.

 

 

Hurstwood Farm has been in family ownership for 75 years. The main product is cobnuts (hazelnuts). The Farm was in it's 'prime' amongst the largest and most technically advanced nut production units in Europe.

 

Sainsbury Supermarkets who took much of the produce partnered Hurstwood Farm for many years in developing the UK nut market. It is their high standards of hygiene, quality and building standards that as a by product, enabled the Farm to adapt the packhouse as a 200 seat concert hall when it was not in seasonal farm use.

 

The recital hall was one of the first in the Country to install closed circuit television to enable the whole audience to see a close up of the piano keyboard. One of the two house pianos was fitted with an upgraded version of the Stahnke computer reproducing/recording equipment. The Farm possesses a unique archive of around a hundred top artists who have allowed us to retain their performance for private use.

 

Further developments enabled 'Hurstwood Pianos' to extend the capability of these pianos to reproduce "live" performances recreated from archive audio recordings, including piano concertos with the computer piano accompanied by an orchestral recording or a live orchestra.

 

Richard studied engineering at Cambridge university. He subsequently worked with many different companies, in various parts of the world.

 

 

See full article

 

01/12/2023
The English Apple Man visits Richard Dain an exceptional Cobnut Grower and Master of the Piano

 

Back in early October, my friend Graham Hill enthusiastically introduced me to Richard Dain at Hurstwood Farm

 

Graham's company Apple Logistics supplies Richard with bulk bins to store his Cobnuts and Walnuts in at harvest.

 

Below: Richard Dain with his assistant Catherine and Milo the Great Dane

 

Richard Dain; is he Superman, or "what" - a grower of Cobnuts and Walnuts, and a Piano Master as well. All remarkable, and he is now 95 years of age with an insatiable appetite for looking ahead!

 

Richard told me the farm was bought by his Step Father in 1948, At that time populated with Cox Orange Pippin, a very profitable variety in the 'post war years' - in 1985 Richard inherited the farm and set about changing the apples for Cobnuts and Walnuts

 

Below: Cobnuts on the tree ahead of harvest

 

Not content with growing Cobnuts and Walnuts, Richard has a passion for Piano's

 

A trained engineer from his youth, Richard has a 'boyish enthusiasm' and inherent genius for idendtifying areas of potential improvement, whether in machinery or piano and loves to 'tinker'

 

What is a Cobnut? A cobnut is what we call a cultivated hazelnut. There are many varieties of cultivated hazelnut, just as there are many kinds of apple.

 

 

See full article

 

24/11/2023
This week, a mixture of emotions!

 

When you reach my age (81) it is inevitable that from time to time 'ones contemporaries' pass onto the great orchards in the sky

 

During last weekend, two giants of our fruit industry sadly passed away, on Saturday Adrian Scripps died aged 86 and on Sunday John Cannon MBE died at the age of 92.

 

Below: left Adrian Scripps in his orchards and right. John Cannon MBE in his Cobnut Plat

 

 

Adrian Braithwaite Scripps 1937 to 2023

 

A message from Adrian Scripps Ltd.

 

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Mr Adrian Scripps on Saturday 18th of November. He started farming in 1956 and built the foundations of the business as it is today. He was for so many years the energetic driver of the business, an innovator and very much a pioneer within the industry. He will be greatly missed by colleagues, friends and family

 

John Ireland Blackburne Cannon MBE 20.3.31-20.11.23

 

A message from Giles Cannon

 

"Sadly my father passed away on Sunday following a stroke at the age of 92. Born and raised in Tasmania, he began farming in Plaxtol, Kent in the 1950's. A keen fruit and hop grower for many years, he developed a passion for the Kent Cobnut and was thrilled to be recognised for this work in 2020. We will miss him.

 

 

 

In 2-3 weeks time (when appropriate) The English Apple Man will devote a Journal to these two gentleman who made such a mark on the fruit and farming industry.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

17/11/2023
The English Apple Man takes a look at machinery at the National Fruit Show 2023

 

The National Fruit Show demonstrates a plethora of 'supportive suppliers' producing everything from services and small hand tools to large machinery designed for Fruit and Viticulture producers

 

Without doubt, the rapidly expanding Viticulture Industry is providing Machinery suppliers with a welcome boost, as apple and pear growers are under extreme financial pressures

 

 

 

See full article

 

10/11/2023
More news from The 90th Anniversary National Fruit Show

 

The 2023 National Fruit Show - 90th Anniversary Show

 

Below: After presenting Minette Batters with The Jon Jones award, The English Apple Man poses with the NFU President and NFS Hon Chair Sarah Calcutt. Both ladies are retiring from their prestigious roles, of which they have both enjoyed distinguished success. While The English Apple Man is planning to step down from the NFS Committee after many years of 'hands on' involvement.

 

In the second instalment of the 90th Anniversary National Fruit Show, pictures of NFU President Minette Batters touring the show with NFS President Catherine Paice, Hon Chair Sarah Calcutt and NFS CEO Sally Flanagan.

 

The English Apple Man reveals the full list of winners of this year's prizes.

 

Also a picture collection of some of the award presentations by NFS President Catherine Paice

 

While this NFS is the 90th anniversary, a quite remarkable event took place on the John Breach stand as John and his team celebrated their 55th appearance at the show - See picture at end of show report

 

 

 

See full article

 

03/11/2023
The English Apple Man visits the 90th Anniversary National Fruit Show

 

It's showtime!

 

On Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd November The National Fruit Show celebrated the 90th Anniversary of a show which began back in 1933 as The Marden Fruit Show

 

Below: Minette Batters, Sarah Calcutt & John Guest

 

Opening the show, NFU President Minette Batters who is retiring after a five year period.

 

Minette was presented with The Jon Jones Award for ' a notable contribution to the fruit industry by 'John Guest Winner in 2022' and Honorary Chair Sarah Calcutt

 

Elected as president in February 2018. Minette is also an ambassador of Farm Africa and was made a Deputy Lieutenant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2021.

 

This was Minette's third visit to The National Fruit Show and as she prepares to retire from The NFU Presidency it was appropriate that Sarah also retires after an equally successfully long term as Chair of The National Fruit Show.

 

NFU President - Minette Batters

 

Sarah Calcutt is stepping down after this year's show to concentrate on her role as chief executive at City Harvest. "I have loved my 14 years in the chair," she said. "It's been an absolute honour in every way, my privilege to lead this organisation and I will treasure every moment.

 

"I leave it in safe hands with a good structure and an excellent team, fit for a strong future doing what it has always done best - shouting about the very best of the British fruit industry."

 

NFS also has a new president this year, with Catherine Paice replacing Teresa Wickham, while Sally Flanagan has become the first chief executive at organiser Marden Fruit Show Society.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

27/10/2023
Growing Kent and Medway

 

Growing Kent and Medway

 

Growing Kent & Medway has awarded a share of over £1.6million to 13 businesses to fund projects that will sustainably transform the horticultural and plant-based food and drink supply chain.

 

Kent and Medway is home to some of the most exciting and innovative food and drink businesses in the UK and internationally. From growers of fresh fruit and vegetables, to food processes and makers, through to engineers and robotics specialists automating our supply chain.

 

Kent businesses are leading the way in healthy and sustainable food production.

 

Growing Kent & Medway is led by NIAB EMR in East Malling.

 

 

 

Dr Nikki Harrison Growing Kent & Medway programme director, who joined the team from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), where she was head of business development.

 

With a scientific career spanning more than 20 years, she is trained in plant biology and genetics; microbiology and biotechnology, and horticultural cropping systems. Prior to joining AHDB, Dr Harrison was senior research leader in horticultural science at NIAB EMR, and was an honorary research fellow at the University of Reading.

 

See full article

 

20/10/2023
Fair Play?

 

Regular readers of The English Apple Man will be well aware of the challenges facing British apple growers desperate need for fair prices from our Supermarkets and the real possibility of many growers going out of business!

 

A former Asda buying chief has turned from poacher to gamekeeper to offer suppliers training in the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.

 

Ged Futter, who worked for nearly 15 years with the supermarket giant, the last four as senior buying manager for frozen food, told The Grocer he wanted to help bring "balance" back to the relationship between suppliers and retailers.

 

Supermarkets were turning their superior negotiation skills into a "billion pound industry", Futter warned, adding many suppliers were too scared to stand up to retailers because there was still a "climate of fear"

 

To help suppliers be more assertive, Futter is offering to train them up through his new business, Innovative Retailing Solutions, which he launched in February.

 

 

GSCOP training is designed to help suppliers understand their rights, protect their business, and grow. The training is crucial because without it, suppliers might not be aware of what they don't know!

 

See full article

 

13/10/2023
The English Apple Man joins a community enjoying their Orchard.

 

Last Saturday, custodians and the community at Five Oak Green gathered to celebrate their Community Orchard.

 

The orchard inspired by Celia (it was her idea) and Roger Worraker as The Diamond Jubilee in 2012 has morphed from The Capel Community Orchard into The Worraker Community Orchard in memory of their status as members of their community.

 

Planted in 2012, The Worraker Community Orchard produces a wonderful mix of old and present varieties.

 

Click on: Planting the Worraker Community Orchard

 

See full article

 

06/10/2023
More news on British Apples and Pears

 

Following on from The English Apple Man Journal from last week (25/9/2023) this week the focus is British Apples and Pears Ltd Chair Ali Capper who also featured in last week's BBC Countryfile programme.

 

Ali particularly takes issue with Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC) who argued that Supermarkets were supporting producers.

 

 

Click on Ali Capper Video

 

See full article

 

29/09/2023
English Apples, an industry in crisis, and a consumer responds!

 

On Sunday evening I watched Countryfile which featured the crisis facing British Apple Growers

 

On Sunday evening, I received an email from Sue a lady in Manchester responding to Richard Budd, one of the three growers visited by Countryfile presenters.

 

Dear Richard,

 

I am watching the item on Countryfile right now and am horrified that you are treated so badly by supermarkets. For example, I couldn't believe my ears that Bramley's the best apple for baking ever, are having to be juiced because some eejit in, say, Tesco is deciding the consumer, me, doesn't want small ones, odd sized ones etc. Also that they are then not paying you a decent price. I am also becoming concerned about imports and why I don't see the varieties of pears and apples, I know are grown here, in the shops.

 

I am sure that I cannot be the only consumer that is sick of being told that I don't want this, that and the other by retailers who didn't even ask me. I wondered if you would be willing to correspond further on this with an end user like me so that I can learn what more I can do to support British fruit and veg. farmers, e.g. buying directly for example.

 

Kind Regards - Sue - from Manchester

 

See full article

 

22/09/2023
National and Global News

 

Start of season 2023 - British Apples and Pears Ltd

 

Talking start of season, and in preparation for British apple month in October, we have issued a press release to long-lead consumer media. The release will also be distributed via the PA Newswire on 1 October to national news media. Expect to see coverage from 2 October onwards.

 

In my inbox this week, and brought to my attention by BIFGA, an article published in FRUITNET New report suggests massive increase in production and operating costs over past three years has left around 60 per cent of GLOBAL supply unprofitable!!

 

According to the report, such an outcome will make it harder for consumers the world over to eat a healthy diet. Indeed, to keep their food expenses in check, people will increasingly rely on low-cost staple foods or turn to unhealthy calories, such as those from soft drinks. In addition, the economic difficulties faced by fresh produce exporters in developing countries counter the impact of efforts towards poverty reduction, and threaten the livelihoods of millions of families.

 

The Global Coalition of Fresh Produce brings together fresh produce associations from around the world, based on their joint vision to create resilient global value chains for fruits and vegetables that bring a myriad of economic, environmental, and societal benefits. The Coalition's mission is to voice solutions to address disruptions in global supply chains for fresh produce, including - but not limited to - rising costs, and share and promote best practices

 

See full article

 

15/09/2023
Serious Apple Harvesting has begun!

 

The 2023 apple harvest is on it's way as Cox picking (1st pick) complete on many farms and Gala underway a well.

 

On Wednesday The English Apple Man popped into Monks Farm at Norton in East Kent to see how Simon Bray was finding this year's cropping levels.

 

An old friend and one of the best growers around, his fruit regularly available on M&S shelves, Bramley and Cox had been picked and I found Simon and his pickers busy in the Smitten orchard.

 

Smitten is a modern apple variety, developed in New Zealand, but closely related to some popular modern English varieties - Fiesta and Falstaff, as well as Gala and Braeburn.

 

The flesh is a yellow-cream color, fairly dense, with a crisp texture and moderately juicy. The flavor is sweet but with some acidity. We rate it as pleasant but not outstanding.

 

The skin is slightly greasy, but with a pleasant odour.

 

Given its parentage it is not surprising it has good keeping qualities - Fiesta, Gala, and Braeburn all store very well.

 

Smitten is the trademark, the cultivar name is PremA17.

 

 

 

See full article

 

08/09/2023
The English Apple Man visits Apple Logistics

 

In recent weeks The English Apple Man has looked at the growers preparation for harvest and the servicing of storage facilities as the new season approaches

 

This week we visit Apple Logistics Ltd. a company servicing the transportation needs of growers, storage sites and packhouses.

 

Below: Clara - Transport Manager at Apple Logistics Ltd.

 

On Tuesday The English Apple Man visited Graham Hill at his office at Court Lodge at East Farleigh in Maidstone where he and his partner Steve Packer mastermind the movement of apples from farms to storage complexes and packing sites across the South East of England and beyond.

 

While there, I met Clara - Transport Manager and Paee who deals with finance.

 

Clara with her language skills (speaks several) is able to converse fluently with the many nationalities holding key positions at the many farms, stores and packing sites to whom she speaks on a daily basis.

 

With Paee keeping on top of business finances, the management and administrative team of Graham, Steve, Clara and Paee deliver a quality service to all the Apple Logistics customers!

 

 

See full article

 

01/09/2023
Getting ready for apple storage

 

Gosh it's September and across the top fruit industry, growers are getting ready for the harvest of apples which will be stored long term allowing the availability of British apples until next summer.

 

The harvest of apples for long term storage begins with Bramley, our revered British culinary apple which normally starts in early September. Talking to a leading grower, who normally would pick some of his Bramley for the early market, he tells me that with some of last year's crop still being marketed, and this year's crop half of 2022 he is picking Bramley for long term storage to maximise this year's monetary value.

 

Conference pears are of very good size and are already being picked for long term storage.

 

Meanwhile apple stores for storing throughout the winter are being readied for use with storage specialists carrying out service checks.

 

To see what growers are doing as they approach a new season: Click on Apple Storage from a previous English Apple Man Journal

 

See full article

 

25/08/2023
It's a Kinda 'Magic Star'

 

Last week, The English Apple Man joined fellow members of East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) at Bekesbourne Farm for the traditional walk of the Winning Orchard of EKF Society's annual orchard competition.

 

Brothers William & David Riccini grow apples. pears, and cherries on four farms in East Kent. They have an envious record as multiple winners of this prestigious award.

 

Their 3 other farms cover 73 hectares, mainly Gala and Braeburn, a few Cameo and Conference pears..

 

David said, "We picked a total of 9,200 bins in 2022 from all sites, maybe less in 2023, we have a slightly reduced Gala crop and have grubbed 2 hectares of Michgla an older clone of Gala.

 

See below a link to The Riccini brothers EKFS Winning Orchard Walk in 2019.

 

Click on: EKFS Winning Orchard Walk 2019 at Oast House Farm.

 

The English Apple Man Comments: The Riccini brothers farms are and always have been 'smart well managed enterprises' and this was evident on this beautiful summers evening, as I entered the driveway, the consistency of tree management and crop was 'striking'

 

 

See full article

 

18/08/2023
Looking back half a century

 

In last week's Journal. The English Apple Man visited John Dench at Ringden Farm in East Sussex.

 

This small family fruit farm has been in the family since John's grandfather Ben bought it in 1963 as a 17acre unit.

 

While visiting John last week, he mentioned his grandmother (now well into her 90's had found an old Grower Magazine from 1971 in which her husband Ben had written an article about the anxieties held by many apple growers about the high probability of The UK joining the EEC Common Market.

 

Readers of The English Apple Man will be well aware of my concerns vented in various editions of the EAM Journal about the mounting challenges facing our fruit industry, not just apples and pears but soft fruit, stone fruit and the horticultural sector in general.

 

Therefore I thought it worth while to 'take a trip down memory lane' and read Ben's viewpoint from 50 plus years ago.

 

I have managed to copy the article in full, although the type is not as clear as it was in 1971. However, if the reader increases the letter size on their PC (to 150) it is quite readable.

 

In front of, rather than after, I have taken elements of Ben's story and made comments relevant to today!

 

 

 

See full article

 

12/08/2023
Harvesting new season apples 'under way'

 

The new season is upon us as the first pick of British Apples is under way!

 

The English Apple Man 'popped in to see John Dench at Ringden Farm in East Sussex where the harvest of Rosette started on Monday.

 

British apple growers range from small enterprises like, Ringden to huge operations farming more than 1,000 acres.

 

As our growers face mounting challenges of large cost increases of labour, materials and energy, and resistance by Supermarkets to increase prices back to the grower sufficient to cover these huge production costs, even the largest, most efficient growers are unable to generate a profit!

 

 

While this is an ongoing conundrum, my visit to Ringden Farm where John Dench and his family have managed to make a success of what is just 30 acres of apples, pears and some plums.

 

See full article

 

04/08/2023
The English Apple Man

 

In this week's Journal, The English Apple Man looks at issues highlighted in the 'trade press'.

 

'Supermarket promotions aren't working for the grower'

 

Severe hailstorms and extreme heat leave parts of Italy's fruit and vegetable production base battered and bruised

 

NFU urges government action on food security report

 

 

 

See full article

 

28/07/2023
Top Fruit Industry 'Stalwart' retires

 

45 years and just a few more days to go!

Last week, Family, Friends and Colleagues gathered for a 'surprise retirement party' for Martin Simmonds, who has been central to the operational success of Home Grown Fruit since 1978.

 

45 years with one employer, is quite a story. Imagine starting out today and looking that far ahead!

 

From my recollection, Home Grown Fruit started n 1961, so Martin has been with HGF for 75% of its existence!

 

From the creation of HGF in 1961 until the 1990's the company stayed much the same, before in 1994 the name changed to The English Fruit Company (ENFRU) - by 1996 more changes as the company became FRUITION with a smaller but more dynamic entity as Category Management became the new norm!

 

In 2001 a joint venture between Fruition and ENZA of New Zealand became Worldwide Fruit Ltd.

 

Fruition PO was set up in 2003 on the merger of five existing producer organisations but can trace its roots back to 1962 with the Home Grown Fruits Co-operative Marketing Organisation.

 

Now anyone who has been involved in supplying Supermarkets with fruit (and all perishables) knows it is a fast moving, dynamic business, some would say; " highly stressful" existence!

 

 

 

 

 

It is remarkable that over all those 45 years, nobody can ever remember Martin losing his temper!

 

See full article

 

21/07/2023
The English Apple Man visits Fruit Focus 2023 Part 2

 

This week The English Apple Man continues reporting on the 2023 Fruit Focus event, held at NIAB EMR

 

Following on from last week's Part 1. This week Part 2. of my day at Fruit Focus and a few of the stands I visited, meeting friends old a new.

 

Reflecting on this year's Fruit Focus, there was not enough time to do justice to the many exhibiting Stand holders.

 

My focus of interest was the advances in technology demonstrated well by the Wet Centre, where the fine tuning of water use, the level of nutrient application, even light distribution, which shows up in higher production in the rows receiving the most natural light.

 

Automated venting and irrigation are just part of the complex formula used by the scientists managing the Wet Centre.

 

The performance comparison between the Standard tunnel (where management is in line with best practice in the strawberry industry, V the Wet Centre experimental tunnel applying 'ongoing' improvements as they are discovered.

 

See full article

 

14/07/2023
The English Apple Man visits Fruit Focus 2023 - Part 1

 

The Annual Fruit Focus Event held at NIAB every summer, brings together members of the soft fruit, stone fruit and viticulture. Over the last 20 years the core of the support industry, has changed from soft and stone fruit to viticulture.

 

In these challenging times growers in general: wether it be apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, salads etc. are all struggling with insufficient price from Supermarkets: exacerbated by the global energy crisis.

 

Viticulture has been in the ascendancy for a number of years and is now the beacon of hope for many growers diversifying their investment in to grape growing.

 

While The English Apple Man has been supporting wine producers for "many a year" - consuming more than is advised by the medical profession, my interesting in growing has been primarily apples and pears, but with increasing involvement in soft and stone fruit.

 

See full article

 

07/07/2023
Research news and the launch of a new variety

 

Research & Varietal development are at the forefront of the apple industry in all countries.

 

Tomra Food has revealed the first details about its new research orchard in New Zealand set to enhance the company's fruit science programme and improve its sorting and grading solutions.

 

TOMRA is a Norwegian multinational corporation manufacturing collection and sorting products, such as reverse vending machines for the food, recycling and mining industries. With over 82,000 (RVMs) installed, 10,000 food sorters and 6,000 recycling systems worldwide, TOMRA is the market leader in its industries.

 

T&G launches new apple variety - Joli tm is a new global premium apple variety that will be available to consumers from 2028 onwards

 

At T&G, we are committed to the highest standards of environmental, social and business responsibility and ethical conduct, including respect for human rights.

 

We are Aotearoa New Zealand's iconic produce grower and apple exporter.

We work with growers and distributors to bring our produce to customers all over the world.

 

See full article

 

30/06/2023
BIFGA Summer farm walk ends with some hard truths for Supermarkets

 

On Tuesday evening, the British Independent Fruit Growers (BIFGA) celebrated 35 years as a catalyst for fair play for British Fruit Growers.

 

Chairman John Breach has campaigned ferociously for 'fair play' influencing the industry and in particular the formation of a Groceries Trade Adjudicator - The Groceries Code Adjudicator is responsible for regulating the relationships between the UK's largest grocery retailers and their direct suppliers by encouraging, monitoring and enforcing compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.

 

GCA works with the Department for Business and Trade.

 

John Breach said BIFGA is proud that: "Over the years, we have used our voice to lobby government and others on a very wide range of subjects. We have also used the Association as a forum to bring together growers and allied companies to their mutual benefit.

 

BIFGA was formed in 1988, primarily to give independent apple and pear growers a 'voice'

 

Members and invited visitors assembled at Downgate Farm, Sandhurst in Kent for a walk around part of Downgate's organic orchards..

 

"Mole End Farms grows top fruit organically on approximately 110 Hectares across 8 sites in Kent at Cranbrook, Marden, Goudhurst, Sandhurst and Chart Sutton. We grow, store, pack and market our own produce"

 

 

 

See full article

 

23/06/2023
Remembering special friends

 

As we grow older we lose special friends. Roger and Celia Worraker were special, not only to family and close friends, but especially to the community where they had lived all of their married lives.

 

Roger and Celia made such an impact on their community, Celia the driving force for the Five Oak Green in Bloom Group that excelled in South East in Bloom competitions.

 

Celia inspired the creation of The Capel Community Orchard project and with Roger's expertise in 'all things apple' the Community orchard became reality in 2012. Click on Queens Diamond Jubilee Orchard

 

On Sunday 11th June the unveiling of the newly named The Worraker Community Orchard attended by members of supportive local community organisations and Roger and Celia's sons James and Jonathan who performed the unveiling of the very informative community orchard board.

 

 

See full article

 

16/06/2023
Latest technology for Strawberry Growing

 

EKFS Soft Fruit Walk 2023 - Tuesday 13th June

 

On a glorious summer evening The English Apple Man joined circa 70 visitors to the annual soft fruit visit, held this year at WB Chambers

 

SOFT FRUIT WALK AT WB CHAMBERS LTD. GOOSE FARM, SHALLOAK ROAD, BROAD OAK, CANTERBURY, CT2 0QE, ON TUESDAY 13 JUNE 2023 AT 5PM

 

Welcomed to Goose Farm by Salih Hodzof - WB Chambers - Chief Operating Officer

 

Salih also works closely with Chambers' partner growers in Spain, Morocco and Mexico enabling the business to achieve its impressive scale of commercial fruit production.

 

Below: Multy-Cosy Greenhouse from PROTECH (3.2)

 

WB Chambers purchased Goose Farm in 2020 as a commercial strawberry unit with conventional Spanish tunnel production. They have subsequently added an impressive 3.2 ha multi-span poly-house, heated by bio-mass boilers to extend the season. The total production area is 31 hectares.

 

The walk took in some of older and newer tunnels as well as the new system, showing the progression of growing techniques.

 

Tim Chambers, Salih Hodzhov and their team have achieved consistent and continued growth in their UK production over many years.

Visitors to this walk were able see and hear from a leading UK soft fruit business.

 

Becoming a traditional part of EKFS visits, NIAB presentations from Mat Papp-Rupar presenting research into coir re-use and recycling and Feli Fernandez presenting research into strawberry and raspberry resistance to pests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WB Chambers

 

Growing

Agricultural divisions across UK, Spain, Poland, Egypt, Portugal, Peru, Morocco with focus on fruit production. Horticultural propagation division sending plants around the world to connect with the growers we work with. Extending production outside of the domestic growing season.

 

 

 

See full article

 

09/06/2023
Branded apples

 

In the Journal for 19th May 2023 The English Apple debating the future prosperity (?) of UK apple growers, said; "Probably the only home grown apples able to earn a small profit at the moment are the Branded Club varieties. Like Jazz and Pink Lady".

 

Poignantly - an article in The Good Fruit Grower magazine discusses the very subject of Branded varieties....

 

Apple varieties all around the world

 

Walter Guerra poses in the middle of his apple-shaped "Variety Garden," a display of 60 branded apple varieties from around the globe, set up in the lobby of the Interpoma trade show in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy.

 

The International Fruit Tree Association tour of Italy in November included a stop at Interpoma.(Ross Courtney/Good Fruit Grower)

 

At a local Italian trade show 10 years ago, Walter Guerra displayed every managed apple variety he could find. He ended up with 30.

 

In November 2023 at Interpoma in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy, that number topped 60.

 

See full article

 

02/06/2023
Derby Day synopsis

 

Historically, when assessing the potential apple set, growers were advised to forget visiting the orchards for a while until Derby Day.

 

When I was a young man, speculation about the fruit set was, like today a topical subject. Members of the 'wise older generation would say, keep out of your orchards until Derby Day (then the first Wednesday in June) then take a look!

 

Times have changed, and the modern tree format shows fruitlets much more easily than the large trees back in my youth!

 

 

 

See full article

 

26/05/2023
British Apples and Pears Retail Webinar

 

British Apples and Pears Retail Webinar

 

Grower organisation BAPL has appealed to all UK supermarkets to boost their uptake of British apples this coming season and invest in initiatives to reinvigorate the domestic apple category.

 

Speaking at a retail webinar on Tuesday (16 May), BAPL executive chair Ali Capper said the UK top fruit sector would like each retailer's share of British apple sales to exceed their UK grocery market share during the 2023-24 season. Domestic apples currently account for about 40 per cent of all apples sold in supermarkets, and BAPL would like that to grow, she said.

 

BAPL Retail Webinar May 2023

 

Capper added that BAPL has designated October 2023 as British apple month and wants to work with retailers to create "more instore theatre" around the new domestic season.

 

 

The board has asked retailers to collaborate by investing in in-store promotions and sampling to drive consumer behaviour, and in return will promote individual retailer British apple packs across BAPL social media platforms, she said.

 

See full article

 

19/05/2023
Growing Apples and Grapes in Kent

 

Many apple growers are venturing into grape growing for wine production, and visit to Adrian Scripps Ltd at Hononton Farm, Brenchley in Kent on Tuesday evening by members of East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) illustrated how a leading apple grower is embracing viticulture and and high value branded apples.

 

Welcomed by MD James Simpson to Hononton Farm, one of five farms owned by Adrian Scripps Ltd and spread across Kent, EKFS members were treated to a prime example of how to compete in these financially difficult times. Pink Lady and Grapes replacing some of the Gala orchards.

 

Sustainably farming 750 hectares on specially selected sites across Kent makes us one of the UK's largest growers of Apples, Blackcurrants and Grapes, employing over 100 permanent staff and many additional seasonal workers.

 

James introduced Farm Manager Charles Hutton-Squire and Assistant Manager Phil to the members.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

12/05/2023
Mid may

 

It is mid May and most apple blossom has passed the full bloom stage (just) and we now wait to see what transpires from the fertilisation period. e.g. "what will the fruit set look like? - growers with the help of their advisors, will be trying to decide what level of thinng is required

 

Yesterday The English Apple Man joined circa 100 members of the fruit fraternity at the annual BIFGA Technical Day.

 

Always a well attended and enjoyable event, this year three farms in the Weald of Kent acted as hosts.

 

A. Northiam Farm Horsmonden

 

B. Amesbury Farm

 

C. Loddington Farm

 

 

 

See full article

 

05/05/2023
At last!

 

After dragging out for at least a couple of weeks, its safe to say we are now at the 'full bloom' stage for most apples.

 

NOT ALL but most!

 

Happily today I found this Busy Bumble Bee eagerly 'buzzing' from bloom to bloom gathering nectar, while carrying out the critical task of pollination

 

Below: See the pollen gathering on the Bumble Bee's legs

 

This year however. it has dragged on and although I think it's safe to say, "most apple blossom' is into bloom and only Cox and Bramley is still hanging about. Of course in days gone by when Cox and Bramley were the dominant varieties, full bloom came naturally about 7-10 days into May.

 

Setting a crop?

 

Achieving a crop, e.g. setting flowers into fruitlets is dependent on pollination AND fertilization

 

 

 

See full article

 

28/04/2023
Apple blossom is slow to open.

 

It's been slow, but the apple blossom is beginning to move with the likes of Braeburn and Red Windsor in bloom.

 

Below: Red Windsor tree in bloom today in English Apple Man's Garden and Blossom with pollen sacs open on 15 April 2022!

 

My garden apple varieties, are at least 14 days later than in 2022. The only tree in bloom is the Red Windsor and many of the buds are still in the pink bud stage. Compare that with the Red Windsor blossom on April 15th 2022 when the blossom is fully open and the pollens sacs open and pollen released!

 

 

Conference Pears are at the blossom stage, while Cox and Bramley apples at no more than Green Cluster/Early Pink Bud.

 

 

 

See full article

 

21/04/2023
Trees responding to warmer weather

 

It's been a bit warmer and trees & plants are responding, although very slowly!

 

Its' not just plants that respond to sunshine, I definitely come alive as the barometer rises!

 

Looking at the weather forecast, it does not suggest any really warm days and indeed the possibility of some frost!

 

So most varieties of apple will 'drift into blossom' instead of an explosion.

 

Looking at the varieties in my garden, L-R. Red Windsor is the most advanced, followed by James Grieve and Red Devil.

 

 

See full article

 

14/04/2023
Everything is on the move!

 

The season is a bit later than last year, but all fruit trees are now on the move!

 

Most dessert apples are at the Green Cluster stage with the odd variety at Early Pink Bud. Pears are at the White Bud Stage.

 

Looking back to 2021 and 2022 demonstrates the lateness of this season, however this can all change very quickly.

 

Pictures are from The English Apple Man's garden

 

In 2022 blossom erupted by this date following a warm spell of weather!!!

 

Click on 15 April 2022 Journal

 

See full article

 

07/04/2023
Farewell to a great character

 

A Tribute to Peter Charles Hill

 

 

The fruit industry recently lost one of its greatest characters when Peter Hill passed away peacefully at Rivermere Care home Sevenoaks on 1st February 2023.

 

Peter was a huge influence in the top fruit industry and particularly the Bramley apple and processing sector.

 

Born in October 1930 at Spye Park Estate near Chippenham in Wiltshire where his parents worked in service to the owner Captain

Spicer with whom Peters father Charles had served in the Horse Guards in World War 1 on the front line in Belgium

 

Peter grew up on the estate and became a keen cyclist and active member of The Chippenham Wheelers club, competing in many time trials and long distance races.

 

Below: left. Spye Park in 1904 and right. Peter Hill in his cycling pomp with Chippenham Wheelers

 

 

 

After leaving school his first job was as an apprentice in a local greengrocers shop. At the end of the year the owner handed Peter his pay and told him that his services were no longer required

 

Undaunted, he looked further a field finding a job working for a company in London importing various food products

 

His breakthrough came when he applied for a job at Tunnel Refineries in Greenwich in 1958. Initially starting as assistant to the MD he worked through the ranks to become commercial director.

 

Tunnel Refineries was a glucose refinery next to the River Thames processing thousands of tonnes of maize and wheat into glucose , starches and syrups which were then sold and distributed to the food and drinks industry.

 

 

See full article

 

31/03/2023
'Diamonds are forever'

 

It is a very long time, but seems to have gone so quickly!

 

Yesterday, 30th March 2023 my wife and I celebrated 60 years of marriage!

 

'Time flies' and we only fully appreciate that fact when we reach our dotage!

 

Celebrating our Diamond Wedding with lunch at The Wild Mushroom in Westfield East Sussex.

When we were first married, a night out was a visit to The Regent Cinema in Cranbrook Kent, occasionally having a modest supper at The Corner Cafe, normally ham egg and chips washed down with a cup of tea. All for 3 shillings and sixpence, sometimes if we were feeling flush we would add bread and butter, all for 3 shillings and ninepence!!!!

 

For those too young to calculate Pounds, Shillings and Pence, 3 shillings is 15p in todays money, and 3/9 pence is seventeen and one half pence!!!

 

Below: 'Diamond Memories'

 

 

See full article

 

24/03/2023
Is wholesale market model a better bet

 

Wholesale Markets

 

50 years ago, when the majority of produce was sold via wholesale markets, Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury changed the process of supply.

 

The early supply chain required the retailers sourcing produce from the wholesaler, passing it through a packing operation to their individual requirements,

 

Then 'a flash of inspiration' - why don't we (the Supermarket) deal directly with the producer!

 

I can remember my agronomist on his visits telling me that the most satisfied growers on his 'patch' were those packing directly with (at that time) through their grower group directly with Sainsburys, Tesco, 'International Stores (remember them?) so I joined them!

 

The "carrot" was too good to miss! - Or was it "the sprat to catch a Mackerel"

 

Well like "lemmings" we all eventually followed suit!

 

As time passed by, the wholesale market became the "dumping ground" for stuff the Supermarkets did not want!

 

50 years on the wholesale market has changed (it had to) and now we question the direct sale to Supermarkets as valid as we (growers) are beholden to their 'vice like grip'

 

'Supermarket shortages highlight relevance of wholesale market model'

 

 

See full article

 

17/03/2023
March Updates!

 

British apple retailer of the year to be announced in September 2023

 

Farming unions have attacked the UK government's decision not to extend higher energy relief for intensive energy users including horticulture and poultry, warning that domestic food production will suffer.

 

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) will close on 31 March, to be replaced in April by a new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS), which offers far less protection to businesses faced with soaring energy bills.

 

 

Some industries, including food processing and manufacturing, will be eligible for additional support for their energy bills under the Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII) scheme.

 

However, chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed in his Spring Budget on Wednesday (15 March) that the government has excluded energy intensive farming sectors such as horticulture, pigs and poultry from the ETII scheme.

 

NFU president Minette Batters said hard-hit horticulture and poultry businesses had been striving to keep the nation fed while dealing with high energy bills and soaring costs.

 

See full article

 

10/03/2023
Reasons to be cheerfull

 

Reasons to be cheerful!

 

After my rather depressing, but nevertheless accurate summary of the Apple & Pear industry status quo, this week I report on a very cheerful evening spent with the cream of the industry.

 

On Tuesday The English Apple Man joined fellow members of East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) for our Annual Trophy presentations and Dinner at the prestigious Faversham Golf Club at Belmont in East Kent.

 

Click on Faversham Golf Club History

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

03/03/2023
Empty shelves & empty orchards

 

The current media hot topic is "Empty shelves" in UK Supermarkets!

 

Lack of tomatoes etc. is just the tip of the iceburg, as the future of apple growing in this country is in serious debate

 

HEADLINE

 

By Yvette Austin & Flaminia Luck - BBC South East Environment Correspondent

 

Kent apple farmers forced to dig up orchards over financial losses

 

Orchards are being dug up across the Garden of England as growing the fruit is no longer financially viable

 

 

 

See full article

 

24/02/2023
Cyclone Gabrielle

 

In this week's Journal, The English Apple Man reviews the disaster facing many of our apple grower friends in New Zealand.

 

I was alerted by Martin Williams, an old friend who grew apples in East Sussex, before retiring to Derbyshire a few years ago.

 

Dear John, "I have been sent the attached by our daughter who lives in New Zealand about the devastation in Hawkes Bay caused by cyclone Gabrielle. It makes the hurricane of'87 look like nothing!

 

Katy and family who live near Matamata in central Waikato got away quite lightly, just were without power for four days".

 

Troubled times indeed for growers around the world.

 

Cyclone Gabrielle

 

Horticulture apocalypse: trees covered in 2m of silt and dead animals float through apple orchards

Almost 2 metres of river silt suffocating apple trees and dead animals floating in apple orchards has been described by a Hawke's Bay apple grower as the horticulture apocalypse.

 

But Yummy Fruit general manager Paul Paynter said the biggest tragedy would be the human one.....

 

 

See full article

 

17/02/2023
Pruning

 

Pruning

 

At this time of the year commercial growers are busy with their pruning, aiming if possible to finish by early March in readiness for the first crop protectant sprays.

 

Below: apple bud at early stage

 

For the the home owner with an apple tree in the garden it is a very different proposition. To begin with what is the purpose of the apple trees? Are they intended to be a fruiting unit providing fruit for the family? Or are they something to enjoy as a source of blossom and scent in early summer, a place to hang the swing and a climbing frame for the children, with the bonus of a few apples straight from the tree in late summer. I was asked many times by visitors to my farm about pruning and I always asked those questions.

 

If your intention is to maximise the full potential, with plentiful fruit of good quality, it will require discipline and had work. If however it is more of convenience, then enjoy those branches which sweep across the tree in the wrong direction, spoiling the shape, but somehow adding a natural beauty which only freedom from a pruners saw can create. I have spent many a happy hour as a child climbing up into the top of a large Bramley tree, then sitting on a branch that should not have been there, enjoying the view of the surrounding countryside. It was great fun; even better in the company of a young lady!

 

See full article

 

10/02/2023
AgriLeader Forum and Environmental Land Management.

 

The English Apple Man looks at opportunities and issues facing our farmers

 

Under the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) farmers contribute via a levy which in practice allows matched funding by Government towards research projects beneficial to the future of farming.

 

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain to help the industry succeed in a rapidly changing world. We want to create a world-class food and farming industry, inspired by and competing with the best

 

Click to view AHDB

 

 

Agrileader Forum

 

Held in Stratford Upon Avon, the AgriLeader Forum has a number of key aims. The AHDB believe that for UK agricultural to maintain sustained excellent and keep progressing, farmers and growers need to be supported, stimulated and challenged.

 

The AgriLeader Forum provides an opportunity for this to happen. Like-minded farmers and growers meet, exchange ideas and learn from experts and peers facing similar challenges.

 

AgriLeader is an expansion of our highly successful DairyLeader programme, which has now been rolled out across all the sectors that AHDB covers. It is designed to inspire and challenge your thinking on business-related topics.

 

See full article

 

03/02/2023
The English Apple Man pays tribute to an old friend

 

This week The English Apple Man received sad news of the passing of a highly respected member of Academia and the World of Apples.

 

An email on Monday from his daughter Sarah informing me that Dr Barrie Juniper had passed away.

 

I first met Barrie at East Malling Research in late 2009 when he delivered The AMOS memorial which featured his exploits in the Tien Shan Mountains of Central Asia searching for the evidence that the sweet apple originated naturally over a 50 million year period without involvement from human beings!

 

Barrie's book: The Story of The Apple

 

The English Apple Man visits Oxford University - February 2011

 

On Thursday The EAM met Barrie Juniper and his daughter Sarah at St. Catherine's College, Oxford University. They were accompanied by a mutual friend, Sean Morris a graduate of Oxford.

 

The prime reason for the visit was to explore further Barrie's unrivalled knowledge of the source of the sweet apple and it's source in the Tien Shan region of Central Asia.

 

In addition Barrie and Sean introduced me to a new apple discovered by Sean in the garden of his offices in Oxfordshire. The apple is now marketed by Frank P Matthews primarily to Garden Centres and is named BLADON PIPPIN.

 

 

 

See full article

 

27/01/2023
Update

 

British apple & pear industry lays out a series of asks for retail, government and consumers after alarming survey findings

 

Apple growers in France say they need an additional €0.20 per kilogram to save the country's orchards, as the impact of increased costs bites hard

 

ANPP, the French top fruit association, offered a stark warning on the current state of the apple sector in France in a post on LinkedIn entitled "Apple industry on the verge of ruin".

 

Photos from the association showed producers in the process of uprooting their own trees due to the unsustainable price currently being paid to growers.

 

Finally a nice story from apple growing brothers in Kent!

 

See full article

 

20/01/2023
Bits and Pieces

 

In this week's English Apple Man Journal we will look at a few interesting 'bits & pieces'

 

NEW CEO APPOINTED FOR THE NATIONAL FRUIT SHOW

 

The Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) has appointed Sally Flanagan, a long-standing committee member and former Executive Director of The East Malling Trust as its new Chief Executive Officer. Sally takes over the reins from Sarah Calcutt, who has stepped down as the Executive Chair and now becomes the Honorary Chair.

 

Sally, who has been involved as a committee member for a number of years, takes over all day-to-day responsibilities of running the MFSS which includes the annual National Fruit Show, education programme for the industry and schools and competitions for growers and producers throughout the year.

 

Sally Flanagan comments: "It's an absolute honour to be appointed CEO. The work of the MFSS is essential in promoting access to knowledge and best practice relating to agriculture and horticulture here in the UK as well as information and best practice for the storage, packaging and marketing of fruit.

 

We also have a team who provide a successful and growing outreach programme of science, nutrition and careers education to schools and with additional sponsorship funding, we can expand this across the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year is also the 90th year of The National Fruit Show and following the success of the 2022 show, opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex, we are looking to build on that success with an exciting event to showcase the talents of British Fruit growers, the best of British fruit and the wider industry, along with access to the latest technology that innovates and supports it."

 

 

 

See full article

 

13/01/2023
Where do I begin?

 

On Tuesday 10th January The English Apple Man attended a British Apples and Pears Limited meeting held at The Kent County Showground.

 

The meeting was very well attended with circa 70 present and a further 40 attending via ZOOM.

 

The attendance reflected the crisis facing our apple and pear industry and emotions were festering!

 

BAPL Chair Ali Capper conducted the meeting with prominent members of the BAPL Board present.

 

AGENDA

 

1. Future R&D overview

2. R&D Q&A

3.Strategic review

4.Strategic review Q&A

 

The agenda sought to explain and discuss the change in the BAPL structure now the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board no longer supports Apple and Pear R&D.

 

In the AHDB ballot tree fruit, soft fruit and protected edible growers voted to retain their R&D levy.

 

The Tree Fruit panel was the most effective panel with 85% of the industry represented in its members and co-opted members

 

The panel was supported by a Research Manager, Knowledge Exchange team and the EAMU/Emergency Authorisations team at AHDB

 

 

 

Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd:

 

The demise of AHDB Horticulture leaves a gap for the industry which the Board of BAPL, like the other crop associations, feel should be filled.

 

This is a very important R&D issue which is no longer funded by AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) which was funded by a mandatory levy and government funding. Due to the recent review which the horticultural sector including apple & pear growers voted not to continue support for the AHDB and a mandatory levy, BAPL with other organisations have set up The Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd: a not-for-profit organization designed to deliver the EAMU's and Emergency Approvals for chemical and biological pest, disease and weed controls - all major Horticulture crop associations have signed up to HCP Ltd

 

BAPL Research & Development - Committee

 

BAPL Research and Development Committee: a separate committee to continue to drive the industry priorities for apple and pear R&D

 

There will be two separate costs, plus associated BAPL running costs raised in one voluntary levy

 

Strategic review

 

Ali Capper explained a strategic review was necessary to agree the new structure incorporates the R&D changes.

 

During the strategic review presentation, some attendees voiced strongly their concern that BAPL is not doing enough to support apple & pear growers in the current financial crisis: in particular challenging the Supermarkets strongly and publicly over the unsustainable prices growers are receiving

 

 

See full article

 

06/01/2023
What does 2023 have in store?

 

Now six days into a new year, The English Apple Man mulls over what may be in store for 2023!

 

Last year brought so much anxiety into all our lives and on a personal basis the loss of a loved family member in August added to the challenges we faced. In addition personal friends and many fruit industry friends passed on to orchard in the sky!

 

Will 2023 bring good news?

 

On a personal 'family basis' we hope for good health and some happiness!

 

Last November as the crisis facing the apple industry came to the fore, The EAM wrote about the challenge facing my fruit faming friends.

 

"The effect of the Russian 'WAR' in Ukraine has had a global influence on the availability and price structure, but the squeeze on producers by Supermarkets has been ongoing for many years, in fact ever since the Supermarket's enticed producers away from the wholesale markets in the late 1970's. Once the supply became sufficient pressure was applied to producers in the shape of 'audit demands' and downward price pressures.

 

The result will be less home-produced food, especially labour-intensive produce, but not entirely as the current disaster facing the British poultry is driving egg production overseas.

 

It's the consumers choice, buy British or end up 'hostage' to imports, which in many cases do not observe the high standards we enjoy in Britain, the same standards demanded by our Supermarkets audit expectations (demands) "

 

For the full story: Click on The English Apple Man Journal November 25 2022

 

See full article

 

30/12/2022
Looking back at 2022

 

On the crest of a New Year, The English Apple Man looks back at stories from this past year!

 

In the first Journal of January 2022 we were still under the influence of that evil virus

 

To Quote from last January

 

"As we pray COVID-19 can be brought under control, the science and technology behind vaccines have given us hope of returning to some form of normality.

 

In the fruit industry science and technology are more important than ever! We have always battled diseases and pest control, but now as changes in society land on us at an exponential rate, we rely on science and technology allied to a better understanding of the challenges we face!

 

A recent planned demonstration on the use of drones in early December became a ZOOM event due to concerns about Omicron".

 

See full article

 

23/12/2022
Happy Christmas

 

On the threshold of another Christmas, not everyone knows that Mistletoe grows on apple trees!

 

My son inspired me to write about Mistletoe not aware that it grows in apple trees

 

Mistletoe species grow on a wide range of host trees, some of which experience side effects including reduced growth, stunting, and loss of infested outer branches. A heavy infestation may also kill the host plant. Viscum album successfully parasitizes more than 200 tree and shrub species.

 

Mistletoe is the common name for obligate hemiparasitic plants in the order Santalales. They are attached to their host tree or shrub by a structure called the haustorium, through which they extract water and nutrients from the host plant.

 

The name mistletoe originally referred to the species Viscum album (European mistletoe, of the family Santalaceae in the order Santalales); it is the only species native to the British Isles and much of Europe. A related species with red rather than white fruits, Viscum cruciatum, occurs in Southwest Spain and Southern Portugal, as well as in Morocco in North Africa and in southern Africa. The genus Viscum is not native to North America, but Viscum album was introduced to Northern California in 1900.

 

See full article

 

16/12/2022
Pink Lady

 

In recent Journals, The English Apple Man has focused on the critical challenges our UK apple growers are facing, and more will be reported in the New Year.

 

But this week The EAM focuses on apple varieties which command higher retail prices and return growers a profitable return!

 

The most successful high value Global apple is Pink Lady. There are others like Jazz which has modelled it's marketing strategy on the success of Pink Lady.

 

The success required an exceptional apple with great taste, texture and very 'uniform' visual appearance.

 

For consumers to buy, and repeat buy, uniformity must be delivered. Cripps Pink delivers the optimum eating quality and by setting a specification for high colour (minimum red colour) while licensing it as Pink Lady only to growers capable of meeting the high standard, plus controlling the volume grown to meet consumer demand and NOT exceeding it, delivers profit to the grower ensuring financial sustainability!

 

The story of Pink Lady is the result of the fascinating endeavour by 'British-Australian' breeder John Cripps!

 

"John Ernest Lane Cripps was born on 9 April 1927 in Steyning, Sussex, England. He graduated from Reading University as a Horticulturist, and emigrated to Perth, Western Australia.

 

For many years we believed Pink Lady could not or would not, be grown in the UK. But as the effect of climate change improved the potential for Cripps Pink to be grown here, and the owners of Pink Lady licences accepted the potential for UK Pink Lady production.

 

Licenses have been issued to a few growers with the capability to grow Pink Lady successfully here.

 

The pictures of Pink Lady in this week's Journal were all grown in Kent this summer

 

The first UK Pink Lady of the season will be in selected Supermarkets this weekend!

 

 

 

See full article

 

09/12/2022
updated

 

Gosh, it's only sixteen days until Christmas

 

In this week's Journal a friend and global expert on marketing, shares his views on the current fresh produce situation.

 

John Giles, Promar International writes for The English Apple Man Journal

 

"My many years of involvement with the Institute of Agricultural Management, the Chartered Institute of Marketing's food, drink and agricultural group and the City Food Lecture has also allowed me to improve my knowledge and experience of agri-food markets and broaden my network.

 

"I am a strong believer that all businesses should invest time and resources into understanding markets, supply chains and competitors and there are countless opportunities for agri-food businesses near to home and globally"

 

See full article

 

02/12/2022
Various important issues facing English Growers

 

My apologies to me readers for the late 'on-line' Publication of this week's Journal, which covers a lot of issues (probably too many)

 

The English Apple Man recently attended The East Kent Fruit Society 'Winter Meeting' held at Faversham Golf Club.

 

EKFS Chairman Will Riccini chaired the event in his characteristic 'sparkling style'

 

Will introduced a panel of expert speakers covering Carbon counting, Defra RPA support schemes, Soil diversity and Regenerative farming.

 

Will Brandreth from Chavereys

 

Richard Wordsworth NFU Senior Adviser

 

Louisa Robinson-Boyer from EMR NIAB

 

James Smith from Loddington Farm.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

25/11/2022
The Apple Scene

 

After the recent National Fruit Show and international events like Interpoma have passed, The English Apple Man takes a look at what's going on in the home and European apple scene.

 

It just so happened that a BIFGA retail price-check carried out in March 2019 in preparation for the report:

"Fairness in the British Gala Apple Supply Chain"

showed that the approximate average retail price of British Gala apples in major UK supermarket chains, was

£2.20/kg, or, a "Pound-a-pound". As three years have now passed, BIFGA would like to update that survey (for

the 2021 crop) to see if there have been any significant changes.

 

Somewhat alarmingly, despite three years' inflation, a BIFGA survey carried out in March 2022, showed that the

average retail price had actually dropped to £2.05/kg - less than a "pound-a-pound". However, because retail

prices vary according to fruit size, pack type, and from retailer to retailer, we will, for simplicity, assume for our

new survey that the retail price has remained at £1/pound. But was that £1 shared out "fairly" between the

various "links" in the supply chain? In other words: "Who invested the most/least time and capital?"; "Who

carried the most/least risk?"; and, "Who received most/least of the retail price?".

 

 

See full article

 

18/11/2022
One last look at the 89th National Fruit Show

 

The English Apple Man takes one last look at the 89th National Fruit Show.

 

Below: from left: NFS Exec Chair Sarah Calcutt, her daughter Aurelia with HRH The Countess of Wessex and right. Mini Fendt Tractor.

 

 

Below: Tom Ogden receives the Mini Fendt Tractor from Claire Seymour

 

Supporting the NFS Education programme The National Fruit Show, sponsored by Kent fruit grower AC Goatham and fruit marketeers APL Ltd, is pleased able to offer free workshops to Key Stage 2 children in Kent and London.

 

Using colourful characters and hands-on activities. these workshops combine fun with learning and can be tailored to suit what is being taught in the classroom, whether the focus is on science through life cycle of the apple tree, geography or healthy eating .

 

The programme has been carefully developed by a Land based STEM ambassador and is national curriculum outcome linked to aid schools in delivering key targets.

 

A Mini Fendt Tractor donated by NP Seymour was raffled at £5 a ticket with funds earmarked for the NFS Education Programme.

 

We are thrilled to announce the final sum we raised for The National Fruit Show Education Programme is a fantastic £954

 

 

"Thank you so much to all those that bought tickets for the pedal raffle at the National Fruit Show 2022, and we were pleased that Tom Ogden won it - which I'm sure his little ones will enjoy!

 

All the money raised will go directly towards educating our next generation- whether that is in primary or secondary schools or through other clubs, learning through STEM. The programme is also great at promoting careers within the industry

 

See full article

 

11/11/2022
More news from the 2022 National Fruit Show

 

Last week the 89th National Fruit Show was held at The Kent Event Centre. The 'biggest and best' show ever was graced with the presence of HRH The Countess of Wessex.

 

In this week's Journal the English Apple Man publishes pictures of some of the prize winners receiving their trophies and a full list of all prize-winners with the individual prizes they won.

 

The English Apple Man also highlights a V.I.P. "Brian Tompsett, who quietly goes about his business as Chairman of Judges with the support of his wife Norma who is Competition Manager. These two stalwarts ensure the Apple and Pear Competition Class maintains the long history of what is the centrepiece of the National Fruit Show.

 

 

 

See full article

 

04/11/2022
The National Fruit Show 2022

 

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the 89th National Fruit Show took place at the Kent Event Centre at Detling.

 

AND 'WHAT A SHOW'

 

Praise goes to our Executive Chair Sarah Calcutt who since she took on the role 13 years ago, has, with the support of her team transformed the show from a 'wonderful but slightly rustic' event into a modern very professional show. matching any on a global scale for quality and content.

 

This season has presented many challenges and The English Apple Man has highlighted many of the issues over the last few weeks, but while those challenges remain, this season has produced the most wonderful crop of British apples due to the summer sunshine which has produced brilliant red colour and sweeter than usual apples.

 

SO, CONSUMERS: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, BUY BRITISH APPLES AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS TOO

 

See full article

 

28/10/2022
Next week the 89th National Fruit Show takes place at the Kent Event Centre

 

 

About The National Fruit Show:

 

Now entering its 89th year and dedicated to showcasing the British top and soft fruit, the National Fruit Show is the show 'by growers for growers'. Also new for 2022 is a focus on soft fruit at the show, including a new soft fruit technical forum.

 

Press release: 26 October 2022

 

The 89th National Fruit Show to be attended by HRH The Countess of Wessex

 

Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex will attend the opening morning of the 89th National Fruit Show at the Kent County Showground on Wednesday 2 November 2022. The Countess will tour the show, meet, and hear from industry leaders including fruit growers and supermarkets and observe The National Fruit Show education team during a demonstration careers session with local secondary school age children.

 

More information about the National Fruit Show and the education programme can be found at National Fruit Show Education

 

Sarah Calcutt, Executive Chair of The National Fruit Show, organised by Marden Fruit Show Society CIO comments: "We are absolutely delighted that Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex will attend the show.

 

Highlights will include meeting fruit growers, industry and retail representatives at a Marden Fruit Show Society roundtable discussion and observing a demonstration careers session."

 

 

See full article

 

21/10/2022
Are there more British Apples on display?

 

The English Apple Man followed up on his recent Supermarket survey of British v Imported apples & pears

 

The inspiration for my investigation into the percentage of British v Imported apples and pears on Supermarket shelves came from Kent grower David Budd, but hugely supported by British growers.

 

"Something seriously wrong with our fresh produce supply chain, to think there is zero profit in a beautiful crop of English Gala this year, and currently UK supermarkets are still selling French imports."

 

In early October The English Apple Man visited several Supermarkets in my locality to see for myself the balance of supply.

 

Click on: The Apple Industry in Crisis for an understanding of the surveillance process.

 

See full article

 

14/10/2022
The English Apple Man visits Great Cheveney Farm

 

On Tuesday this week The English Apple Man visited Louise Day at her Great Cheveney Farm in Marden.

 

Sadly, Louise husband Richard lost a brave battle with Cancer in April 2021. Louise with the support of her daughter Claire who is part of the management team at Great Cheveney and her farm manager Oleg has continued to progress the modern fruit farm created by Richard.

 

My last visit was in 2019 to observe the Frumaco self-drive Harvester at work in a Gala orchard.

 

 

 

See full article

 

07/10/2022
The apple industry is in crisis!

 

After a very challenging summer with drought affecting fruit size, the UK apple crop is of good quality and for the most part of good size. early indications were of size potential 5mm above the popular size for UK consumers. But the extent of the drought reduced the fruit size harvested.

 

On the continent, where consumers prefer larger apples. the drought has left their growers with too many smaller apples. They will only make money for larger sizes from their domestic markets, leaving a mass of unmarketable fruit to deal with

 

What do they do? Juice it? Dump it? OR recoup some value by targeting our UK Supermarkets?

 

Comment from Italy

 

It's been a difficult start to the new season for many in the apple business. "Sales and consumption are down while costs are up but still largely absorbed by producers," admitted Klaus Holzi, Vog sales manager. "Despite the 10 per cent inflation, for consumers apples still cost the same as they did a year ago"

 

The English Apple Man Comments

 

The vision of an increase in costs of just 10% is a pipe dream for UK growers. Labour costs are up circa 15%. Electricity up

400-500 percent. Fertilizer 100 percent plus Chemicals ++ +

 

As one grower said to me today: It is the PERFECT STORM scenario.

 

See full article

 

30/09/2022
The English Apple Man visits an Organic Farm in East Kent

 

Yesterday, Thursday 29th September the EAM called in at Nichol Farm at Deerton Street near Faversham in East Kent to see how apple picking was progressing.

 

Nick Moor and his manager Richard Castle grow predominately Gala and Spartan at Deerton Street

 

It was very reassuring to find Richard in a relaxed mood!

 

How is the crop - I said - very good - He said - got enough pickers I said? YES, around 50 he said!

 

You don't look at all stressed, I said!

 

Richard has his pickers (all from Kurdistan) well organised into small groups, each with a small John Deere tractor and picking trains to fill.

 

There are 12 small John Deere tractors!

 

As we talked in the yard, at very regular intervals a smiling tractor driver arrived with another full picking train, unhitched, then hitched on another train with empty bins and off he went.

 

Richard unloaded the full train, refilled with empty bins and the cycle continued smoothly.

 

 

 

See full article

 

23/09/2022
Harvest systems

 

As apple harvest gains momentum, The English Apple Man highlights the changes in harvesting systems

 

The picture is of Cherries being picked circa 100 + years ago, but even 60 years ago, when I was in my 'late teens' when apple trees were much, much bigger, some 25ft tall, wooden ladders were integral to the mode of picking.

 

We picked in those days with a canvas bag on our back, placing the picked fruit into the bag carefully to avoid bruising. The system was tiring and required great care. Once the bag was full, we would make our way to empty the bag, using our hands/arms to keep the bag clear of our body, or damage could/would occur!

 

The next task, emptying the contents of the bag (20-30lb of fruit) into boxes without damaging them!

 

The process meant we spent a large amount of time moving ladders, climbing 'up & down' ladders and walking carefully from tree to boxes before emptying 'slowly' with great care!

 

 

 

See full article

 

16/09/2022
The English Apple Man visits a leading Organic apple & pear grower

 

As we settle back into some dry weather after the sporadic, and sometimes heavy showers of the last week or so, The English Apple Man visits Paul Ward a leading Organic top fruit grower with orchards in Mid Kent and West Kent.

 

"Mole End Farms grows top fruit organically on approximately 110 Hectares across 8 sites in Kent at Cranbrook, Marden, Goudhurst, Sandhurst and Chart Sutton. We grow, store, pack and market our own produce"

 

Orchard Update

 

From my Agronomist friend Nigel. Although pressures of Cox have changed very little over the past week, as with the pears,

starch is now degrading quickly indicating rapid fruit maturity.

 

"Gala is maturing faster this year than at any other time during my 30 years in the fruit

industry and picking should be underway on all sites. Over the past week, average pressures

have plummeted by over 1 kilogramme and starches have fallen close to 25%! By the end of

this week all sites will be at or below 70% starch"

 

See full article

 

09/09/2022
As we mourn we remember

 

This week has been one of mourning and reflection.

 

On a very personal note, my wife and her close family prepared for the Funeral service for her much loved Sister which was scheduled for Friday.

 

That was the central theme of our week, when the very sad news of the death of our beloved Queen shattered the equilibrium.

 

The loss of our Queen hung heavy as we prepared for the Funeral and Committal of my Sister-in-Law on Friday afternoon.

 

Angela had battled Cancer for more than a year, with a stoical resolve, a very brave lady.

 

See full article

 

02/09/2022
It's that time of year

 

September brings Hop picking and serious Apple picking gets under way

 

Among the earlier apples is Scrumptious and below a video sent to me by Nico Ionita Farm Manage at Mole End Farms. This is a very attractive and crisp, juicy apple, which matures before Red Windsor another apple which precedes the mainstream varieties Cox and Gala

 

Below: L-R: Scrumptious - Hops - Red Windsor

 

Scrumptious is self-fertile apple variety, so no pollination partner is needed, and the blossom also has some resistance to frost.

 

Click on Video of SCRUMPTIOUS

 

See full article

 

26/08/2022
The English Apple Man visits Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

 

Back in March the English Apple Man crossed the threshold into the realm of an Octogenarian and asked by his brother David; "what would you like for your birthday present, I replied, well I have always fancied a visit to Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

 

" Ok, then we will do that said David"

 

My wife and I have been a fan of Raymond Blanc and always followed his various masterclasses on TV. But when I purchased his book: "The Lost Orchard" and read about his childhood growing up in the French countryside with access to a plethora of fruit and learning how to cook by his grandmother and mother, I realised we have much in common: "our joint passion for the countryside and particularly our love of apples, pears and many stone fruits.

 

I bought Raymond Blanc's book The LOST ORCHARD in the early part of 2020 (lockdown time) and this inspired me to learn more about his orchard in Oxfordshire.

 

See full article

 

19/08/2022
The English Apple Man enjoys an orchard walk

 

Yesterday: Thursday The English Apple Man visited Jonathan Duke at Park Farm Frittenden in West Kent

 

Park Farm is always a joy to visit and a credit to the management of Jonathan Duke who wins awards every year for his skills.

 

See Park Farm Wins Goudhurst & Paddock Wood NFU Orchard Competition

 

Click on: Orchard Competition 15th August 2014

 

On Wednesday Park Farm enjoyed some rain, circa 1.5 inches (in Frittenden Village they had much more) but it will hopefully rain some more next week and with a few weeks to go before harvest, the fruit size will improve.

 

See full article

 

12/08/2022
Apple harvest is starting

 

The hot weather has accelerated the start of this year's apple harvest and brought some associated challenges.

 

LEFT: Discovery picked this week in Herefordshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

05/08/2022
Winning Apple Orchards

 

This Wednesday, The English Apple Man joined fruit growers at Hadlow Place Farm for the presentations of The WEALD GROUP NFU Orchard Competition 2022.

 

This was the 71st Prize Winning & Farm Walk event. An occasion always enjoyed by growers in the Weald of Kent and special in that, it is a 'whole farm' competition, rather than an individual orchard entry.

 

The competition has been organised by NFU Wealden Branch (previously Goudhurst & Paddock Wood) Group Secretary Martin Webber and his NFU colleagues Patrick Bowering & Shaun Joubert.

 

See full article

 

29/07/2022
Robotics

 

For the last 2 weeks The English Apple Man has concentrated on 'Berries' - today we look at the prospect for Robotics in Strawberry production. Two companies making inroads into strawberry growing; 1. Already in use and 2. One in commercial trials.

 

Robotics

 

1. SAGA robotics

 

The traditions of the agricultural industry are set for a technological shift. Norwegian and UK based Saga Robotics has recently raised EUR 9.5 million from international investors in support of its ambitious growth plans.

 

2. Dogtooth Technologies

 

Dogtooth is a Cambridge-based technology start-up, building state-of-the-art intelligent robots for soft fruit picking.

 

Ten years ago, it was difficult to imagine robots picking delicate berry fruits as well as people. But enormous progress in the field of machine learning and computer vision means that robotic picking is now a reality.

 

See full article

 

22/07/2022
Promoting British Berries

 

Over the last 20 years the supply of 'home grown British Berries has been an unparalleled success story

 

 

At last week's Fruit Focus Nicholas Marston Chairman, British Berry Growers explained the reasons behind the re-branding of British Summer Fruits into the new brand of BRITISH BERRY GROWERS

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

15/07/2022
The English Apple Man attends Fruit Focus on a very hot day!

 

This Wednesday The EAM visited FRUIT FOCUS the annual horticultural event held at NIAB at East Malling.

 

Arriving before 10am the car park was already very well filled and as I got out of my cool car (air conditioned) the outside felt like facing an open oven!

 

Making my way in, via registration I found The South East Farmer Magazine stand with Jamie McGrorty and his delighful wife Becky, she armed me with a bottle of cold water which accompanied me for most of the day!

 

In the past (when my energy was greater,) I would try to cover as much as possible, but now feeling my age and in the extreme heat, I made my way slowly to stands of particular interest (to me) and accepted the occasional ice cream and a nice cold can of drink!

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

08/07/2022
British Cherries are back in season!

 

The 2022 UK Cherry season is now 'up and running'

 

This week the English Apple Man had been intending to join fellow members of East Kent Fruit Society for our annual 'Stone fruit' walk, but unfortunately due to a health issue, I was not able to attend.

 

I thank my very good friends Norma and Brian Tompsett for stepping up and sending me a report and pictures of this excellent evening event!

 

This year EKFS visited Oliver Doubleday and his family business in the heart of historic fruit growing country, where Henry VIII's Fruiterer, Richard Harris chose to grow the strawberries, cherries and other fruits loved by the Tudor King at the heart of what is now recognised as The Garden of England.

 

In July 2018 The English Apple Man joined EKFS members on a visit to GH Dean: see link to Journal Growing Cherries in King Henry V111 Orchards

 

See full article

 

01/07/2022
Regenerative agriculture, what is it?

 

Regenerative agriculture, what is it?

 

Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming to build and improve soil fertility, whilst sequestering and storing atmospheric CO2, increasing on farm diversity and improving water and energy management. It is a holistic solution that represents a first step towards a wider set of economic, environmental, and social benefits.

 

Below: James Smith welcomes us to Loddington Farm

 

On a recent visit organised by Patricia Crawford - Press, PR and Business Consultant as part of the Farmers Guardian KENT TOUR sponsored by MHA MacINTYRE HUDSON, The English Apple Man was invited to join Patricia and Farmers Guardian journalist Alice Dyer on a visit to James Smith at Loddington Farm, Linton near Maidstone in Kent.

 

Loddington Farm is run by James Smith. After graduating from Reading University with a degree in crop science, he pursued a career in fresh produce, gaining valuable experience and understanding of the fresh produce industry, until 18 years ago, when he joined his father on his great, great grandfather's apple farm in the beautiful Kent countryside.

 

The English Apple Man has known his father Alan for circa 50 years and has followed James influence on the farm since he returned to join Alan at Loddington.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

24/06/2022
It's Strawberry time

 

As Wimbledon approaches Strawberries take prime position.

 

Although 'home grown' Strawberries are available from Springtime until early Autumn, the peak production/consumption time has always been around this time (June/July) coinciding with Wimbledon!

 

At a recent East Kent Fruit Society event. EKFS members visited Hugh Lowe Farms at Barons Place, Mereworth.

 

Welcomed by Marion Regan (4th generation) and her daughter Amelia Maclean (5th generation) of the strawberry growing business started by Bernard Champion in 1893, EKFS members were taken by coach to three of the production sites in the locality.

 

Hugh Lowe Farms are a 5th generation family-owned business which has been growing soft fruit since 1893. Approximately five thousand tonnes of strawberries and 800 tonnes of raspberries and blackberries are grown from tunnelled production and from glass, with the balance of hectarage in arable crops, and environmental schemes. The main site is located in Mereworth with further production in Ightham and Eynsford.

 

Marketing through the growers' co-operative Berry Gardens Growers, they have supplied soft fruit to major supermarkets such as M&S and Waitrose since the mid 1970s.

 

They also have supplied all the strawberries eaten at Wimbledon for nearly 30 years and also support many local markets and community events.

 

 

 

See full article

 

17/06/2022
BIFGA make a statement in support of their members!

 

Below: John Breach - BIFGA Chairman

 

At the recent BIFGA Farm Walk held at Victoria Farm Hadlow, BIFGA Chairman John Breach issued a summary of issues relating to relationships between retailers and their suppliers.

 

Invited to be the opening speaker at the BIFGA event, Mark White - Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) updated members on his commitment to ensuring fair play between retailer and supplier.

 

Since the establishment of the GCA the relationship between suppliers and retailers has worked on a much more agreeable structure!

 

The Farm Walk was attended by more than 90 and included representatives of several major Supermarketss

 

See full article

 

10/06/2022
Sustainable V Unsustainable - Part 2

 

Following on from last week's Journal, The English Apple Man sets out the Unsustainable nature of Supermarket retail prices in face of cost inflation!

 

This season will be a determining factor in the future of 'home grown' apples!

 

The prices which have been squeezed over the last few years, are no longer sustainable!

 

Even before the recent 'rampant inflation' financial returns home to the grower were hampering investment in new orchards.

 

 

"Once older orchards are not replaced with new (more productive ones) the steady decline sets in!"

 

 

 

See full article

 

03/06/2022
Sustainable V Unsustainable

 

Over the next two Journals The English Apple Man will attempt to get behind two words which are at the heart of so many aspects of modern life!

 

In particular the sustainability of the industry which has dominated my life and given me so much joy, and much angst over nearly 65 years of my life!

 

APPLES!

 

The price at retail level and the financial return back to the grower is key to apple growers Sustainability!

 

Looking back to my Journal for 14 November 2014

 

"The display of English Apple & Pears is very encouraging on two counts: the quality of the fruit is visually very good and from tasting the eating quality is equally good. My impression is the main Supermarkets I have visited this week; e.g. Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose are providing good shelf space for English fruit.

 

Looking at the price structure it seems £1.95 per kilo for loose fruit is the 'standard' across most varieties and retailers. The adoption of fruit numbers per poly-bag unit has been standard practice for most retailers now for 2-3 years (if not more) but the fruit size indicator; namely size by measurement in 5mm bands is now being replaced by definition by weight: for example 204-255 grammes

 

Today the buzz words: are Sustainable and Unsustainable!

 

See full article

 

27/05/2022
Apples from North of the Border

 

This week The English Apple Man was delighted to receive an unexpected email from a lady in Scotland!

 

Good afternoon,

 

I have been enjoying your website and am delighted by the huge amount of excellent, interesting apple knowledge you put on it.

 

I am a national collection holder for heritage Scottish apples and pears and Scottish cider apples. My ambition has been to create the environment for commercially grown apples in Scotland again and to encourage farmers, cider makers, apple juice producers to grow apples on a commercial scale again.

 

Catherine Drummond-Herdman

 

MEGGINCH CASTLE

 

 

 

See full article

 

20/05/2022
BIFGA Technical Day

 

34th BIFGA TECHNICAL DAY VISITS TO FARMS IN THE WEST KENT AREA - WEDNESDAY 11TH MAY 2022

 

Our hosts for this event were:

 

FARM A Alex Charrington, Charringtons,

 

FARM B Richard Edmed, Flightshott Farm Orchards,

 

FARM C David and Veronica Knight, Pippins Farm,

 

See full article

 

13/05/2022
Major new investment at NIAB @ East Malling

 

On Thursday morning The English Apple Man joined fellow members of The Press for the official opening of the new £11.3 million investment in a 'state of the art' research centre at NIAB at East Malling

 

 

Prior to the 'formal opening ceremony' - introductory comments were made by: Professor Mario Caccamo NIAB CEO,and Tom Tugendhat MP. Additional speakers; Oliver Doubleday (Chair of East Malling Trust) and Jim Godfrey (Chair of NIAB Board)

 

Following the opening ceremony, invited visitors toured the research centre.

 

Principal among the guides: Glasshouse Manager Emma Easton who began her career at EMR 37 years ago and is now managing this exciting new research complex.

 

Nicola Harrison - Programme Director for 'Growing Kent & Medway' UKRI Strength in Places Fund at NIAB

 

Robert Saville, Growing Kent & Medway, Innovation Growth Manager.

 

NIAB at East Malling - Scott Raffle, Ross Newham, Dr Mark Else and Professor Dan Sargent

 

Dr Flora O'Brien Specialist in Root Biology NIAB at East Malling

 

See full article

 

06/05/2022
Judging Juice & remembering a lovely lady!

 

This week The English Apple Man reports on Judging the apple juice competition for the National Fruit Show and a Charity Bike Ride in Memory of Rosy Green organized by her daughter Georgie and participated in by The Green Family led by 'patriarch Mike Green.

 

 

Recently (27th April) The English Apple Man joined colleagues judging the National Fruit Show juice competition.

 

At our customary location; the Oast Room provided by NIAB EMR at East Malling Research and under the supervision of NFS Competition Manage Norma Tompsett, and David (head honcho) Pennell who had the unenviable task of gathering the results, entering them on his PC and ensuring judgments were in line with the mandate for fair competition.

 

See full article

 

29/04/2022
It's Blossom Time !

 

While blossom has been emerging for a little while now: Plum, Cherry, Pears and some earlier blooming apples, this last week has seen full bloom on many apple varieties.

 

On Tuesday East Kent Fruit Society held their annual blossom walk at Hugh Boucher's Newlands Farm at Norton in East Kent.

 

"The Boucher Family have been farming in Kent for over 130 years, specialising in fruit since 1942. These days, backed by a great team, grower Hugh Boucher runs the thriving fruit farm focusing on quality, sustainability and stewardship"

 

The business name is Robert Boucher & Son. Robert started growing fruit in 1942. Robert was succeeded by his son Rex Boucher who in turn passed the mantle to Hugh Boucher.

 

The Boucher family grow a variety of award winning Apple, Pears, Blackcurrants and Strawberries

 

The farm has remained mixed with top fruit sold through ABB PO, strawberries through Berry Gardens and blackcurrants under contract to Ribena. They also run a small year-round packhouse. Store and Pack own fruit

 

Apple varieties include Jazz, Gala, Cox, Bramley, Russet and Braeburn, plus a small acreage of pears. Their strawberry season lasts from Mid May to Mid October and they grow both standard and premium varieties, Some June bearers but mainly ever bearers.

 

The farm has remained mixed with top fruit sold through ABB PO, strawberries through Berry Gardens and blackcurrants under contract to Ribena. They also run a small year-round packhouse.

 

In addition to the farm walk, EKFS members had two presentations from NIAB EMR: Flora O'Brien talked about carbon sequestration in orchard crops and Michelle Fountain explained how to do pollination surveys and assess pollination efficacy in orchard crops. This is part of an EU funded pollination project called BEESPOKE

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

22/04/2022
The English Apple Man and Farm Shops

 

Farm Shops have developed considerably over the last 50 years, from simple buildings offering a limited range of home produced produce to many very sophisticated enterprises selling a wide range of produce, not necessarily grown 'on site'

 

On Tuesday The English Apple Man visited Chris & Lesley Dench and their sons John and Nathan as they re-opened their farm shop with a new upgraded shop and supporting area servicing the needs of the shop and their fruit juice business

 

Ringden Farm is among the unique selection of farm shops 'producing the vast majority' (95%) of the produce they sell!

 

Originally founded in 1949 after the sale of land belonging to the Seacox Heath Estate. Ringden Farm was a just a bare 17 acre field.

 

The Dench family have been at Ringden Farm since 1963 and is very much a family run business. With an award-winning range of juices made from fruit grown, pressed and bottled in the heart of the Kent & The Sussex Weald.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

15/04/2022
The weather is warming up and blossom is bursting open!

 

As I write today, the weather is glorious and the blossom is opening fast!

 

The image 'LEFT' of Conference Pear at the 'balloon stage' was released on Twitter by the National Fruit Show to remind us all the new season for British Apples and Pears is underway.

 

Different varieties have varying times of blossom, but over the next week or two all will burst forth in bloom!

 

Seasons are definitely earlier than 40-50 years ago based on full bloom for our traditional apples Cox & Bramley and Conference & Comice pears.

 

Over the last 50 years, the average blossom time has progressively come earlier and earlier. The blossom time varies from year to year, sometimes very early and sometimes not so early, but over time the average blossom time has advanced by circa 14 days.

 

Click on EAM Journal 22nd April 2011

 

See full article

 

08/04/2022
National Fruit Show AGM and Conference speakers

 

The National Fruit Show AGM on Wednesday 6th April was followed by a Technical Conference

 

 

After the AGM the attendees were able to join Professor Simon Pearson (Lincoln University), Lee Abbey (NFU) Tim Mordan (Defra), Dr Trisha Toop (Agri-EPI centre) Oli Hilbourne (Outfield Technologies) Dr Nicola Harrison (NIAB EMR) and Scott Raffle to explore the technology, policy and research that is shaping our future.

 

 

 

See full article

 

01/04/2022
The English Apple Man reaches a landmark birthday

 

"Time flies" is an often spoken assessment of how quickly our lives evolve.

 

Below: left; a recent picture of the EAM and right' with my future wife in 1958 - sweet sixteen and below after our Honeymoon in 1963

On Tuesday 29th March The EAM celebrated his '80th Birthday' an age which I never dreamed of reaching as my parents passed away at 46 and 64 respectively!

 

My wife and I met in 1958 and married in 1963. I have been so lucky to have had her support through some difficult times and given me two beautiful children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

25/03/2022
Spring is in the air!

 

With Spring in the air and fruit bud advancing daily, The English Apple Man enjoys a machinery open day and takes a look at fruit bud development.

 

On Thursday this week, The EAM joined visitors at NP Seymour for their OPEN DAY where a wide display of tractors and machinery designed to feed the needs of Fruit & Viticulture Industries + representatives of manufacturers eager to answer questions from the growers present.

 

From: NP Seymour Website:

 

"Welcome to the UK's leading specialist tractor and machinery dealership, NP Seymour.

 

 

 

Started by Nick and Barbara Seymour in 1974, our family-run business is today headed up by the second-generation, Claire Seymour, who remains dedicated to helping fruit farmers, hop growers, packhouse managers, vineyard owners and winemakers with all their equipment needs"

 

"Based just outside Goudhurst, Kent, our purpose-built site, Avon Works, is a hub of activity, complete with sales showroom, extensive parts stores and a busy workshop. Over the last 45 years, we've proudly developed relationships with leading manufacturers from around the world to bring our horticultural and viticultural customers the very best machinery solutions"

 

 

 

See full article

 

18/03/2022
The English Apple Man is away for a few days

 

 

After the long periods of Lockdown, we (my wife and I) will be enjoying only our second visit in two years to our Daughter and her family in Derbyshire.

 

Tomorrow Saturday 19th March will be our Son-in-Law's 61st Birthday and having arrived today Friday 18th mid morning we are able to relax with them.

 

See full article

 

11/03/2022
East Kent Fruit Society Dinner and Competition Presentations

 

Annually the East Kent Fruit Society met in January for their AGM, Dinner and Trophy Presentations in late January.

 

Due to COVID19 the 2022 AGM was held in early February on ZOOM, but for the first time in two years the Annual Dinner and Trophy Presentations took place as a 'live event' at Faversham Golf Club on Tuesday (last) 8 March.

 

Below: EKFS Trophies

 

 

See full article

 

04/03/2022
The English Apple Man reports on various issues

 

It is difficult to concentrate the mind on fruit growing issues with the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.

 

But!

 

On Tuesday 1st March my good friends John & Peter Breach attended The West Midland Top fruit Discussion Group meeting

 

Today - Friday 4th March The English Apple Man joined farmers and associated members of the NFU for RABI fundraising Farmhouse Breakfast at AMOS HALL Hobbs Parker, Romsey House Ashford.

 

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution - RABI - are a national charity that provides local support to the farming community across England and Wales. Established in 1860, we have been offering guidance, financial support and practical care to farming people of all ages for generations.

 

See full article

 

25/02/2022
The English Apple Man visits Supermarkets to assess availability of home grown apples

 

Today Friday 25th February The English Apple Man visited several Supermarkets in my region to assess the availability of home grown apples and their quality!

 

Very pleased to find a good variety of English Apples on display at the stores visited as we are now 6 months into the UK marketing season.

 

In addition to taking notes of the apples on display, The EAM purchased some Cox, Cameo, OPAL, Jazz and Pink Lady plus a pack of French Jazz and Pink Lady for comparison purposes.

 

The apple packs vary in size of fruit, number in pack etc. these nuances explain the price per pack differential. Also promotions result in the occasional very low price offers, like the Spanish Envy apples found in M&S.

 

With the current unfolding tragedy in UKRAINE all other news seems insignificant by comparison.

 

We are so lucky to live in a Country where FREEDOM is taken for granted!

 

See full article

 

18/02/2022
News from New Zealand and UK Pink Lady for sale

 

New Zealand apple harvest well under way and the first UK grown Pink Lady on sale in UK Supermarkets.

 

Achieving success in the competitive word of global apple marketing is becoming increasingly dependent on breeding a quality variety and protecting it with a BRAND. The most successful global brand is Pink Lady with it's licensing agreements issued only to carefully chosen growers. For the first time Pink Lady is being grown and marketed by two leading UK producers.

 

Click on link: UK grown PINK LADY

 

Meanwhile, Turners & Growers (T&G) the giant New Zealand marketing organisation which has developed some of the world's most successful new trade marked varieties continues to develop new exciting apples like POPPI

 

See full article

 

11/02/2022
Global apple & pear stocks

 

Apples & Pears

 

Headlines:

 

APPLE stocks are 10% ahead of the 5 year average and 5% higher than (LY) last year (at 1/1/2022)

 

Relevant to the UK market is that GALA is 15% ahead of LY and a record stock holding! Driven by significant stock holdings in Italy, France and Poland

 

The UK stock is 21% above LY and significantly higher than the 5 year average

 

Braeburn is at a low stock volume this season (in line with last season which was tight towards the End of May (season finish)

 

PEAR stocks are 18% lower than Last Year

 

This being driven by a VERY low crop in Italy due to weather

 

Conference is 15% behind LY (not enough) and will need careful management to meet new season

Rocha stocks are 140% ahead of LY (too much)- this will be a problem for the supplier to move effectively

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

04/02/2022
News from NIAB EMR

 

NIAB EMR APPOINTS SCOTT RAFFLE AS KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE MANAGER

 

Scott Raffle has been appointed to the role of Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager at NIAB EMR.

 

Widely known within the UK fruit industry for his previous work at ADAS, and more recently his work disseminating AHDB-funded fruit research, Scott is taking on a newly created role to improve the information flow of research results from NIAB EMR and to raise its profile

 

See full article

 

28/01/2022
Apple Harvest Robotics Update

 

The English Apple Man has featured Robotic Apple Harvesting Developments over the last few years and noted some success with the Abundant system trialled in commercial harvesting in 2020 with T&G Growers.

 

Click on: Abundant Robotic Apple Harvesting

 

Sadly it appears Abundant are no longer trading and what appeared (to me ) to be a successful robotic format is no longer in development.

 

The EAM thanks The Good Fruit Grower Magazine for producing an excellent article featuring Fresh Fruit Robotics robotic harvester development update.

 

 

 

See full article

 

21/01/2022
A mixed bag for The English Apple Man this week!

 

This week The English Apple Man joined family and friends of Graham Caspell as we paid our respects and said farewell to a very good friend.

 

Since 2008, Graham was responsible for all farming operations at East Malling Research station both commercial and science.

 

 

On a happier note the opportunity to celebrate 'Cabaret' an excellent bi coloured apple bred by John Breach.

 

See full article

 

14/01/2022
Apple Storage

 

As we move into a new year apples and pears harvested in 2021 intended for marketing between 1st January and mid summer will be subject of regular inspection. This will involve general quality parameters, but critically internal condition and fruit firmness which must conform to the specification for long term storage.

 

Using knowledge built up over many years, and particularly research at East Malling Research Station in Kent, industry experts can predict when the apples intended for storage need to be picked and placed into store.

 

This involves collecting a sample (20 apples per sample) from each orchard on a weekly basis for 2-3 weeks in advance of the anticipated picking dates. Each sample is then tested to find its stage of maturity.

 

Testing involves knowing the fruit's firmness and the rate of starch conversion into sugar. Firmness is important as our Supermarket customers have tight specifications, which we must achieve. This emphasis on a minimum level of fruit firmness is to ensure 'soft' fruit of poor texture does not reach, and dissatisfy, the consumer.

 

Regular Market research involving Consumer Panels indicates the 'pet dislike' is soft, mealy, over mature fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

07/01/2022
Science and Technology dominates our lives, and the Fruit Industry is no different

 

As we pray COVID-19 can be brought under control, the science and technology behind vaccines have given us hope of returning to some form of normality.

 

In the fruit industry science and technology are more important than ever! We have always battled diseases and pest control, but now as changes in society land on us at an exponential rate, we rely on science and technology allied to a better understanding of the challenges we face!

 

A recent planned demonstration on the use of drones in early December became a ZOOM event due to concerns about Omicron.

 

Agri-EPI Centre is accelerating the adoption of precision agriculture and engineering technologies to boost productivity across the whole agri-food chain. It does this by exploring how to optimise performance of the highly complex agricultural production and processing systems.

 

Drone Technology and Artificial Intelligence: Utilisation for High value Crops/Top Fruit Growers

 

In this online event, we heard about drone application and the use of artificial intelligence in supporting high-value crops and top fruit growers.

 

With a focus on the use of remote sensing methods platforms, such as UAVs (drones), which have opened up a wide selection of sensing options for use in agriculture. What are these options, what do they tell us about our farms and how can we use them to make good decisions? An expert panel of speakers included:

 

See full article

 

31/12/2021
Looking back at 2021

 

As we look back on 2021, a mixture of emotions come to mind!

 

On a personal basis my family has had a "S--- of a year, losing a family member and our beloved dog Poppy. In addition so many members of the fruit fraternity have passed away, most after a very long life, but some tragically before their expected lifespan!

 

So far (X fingers) my wife and I (79 & 80 years old) have avoided the Covid Plague by taking all the recommended precautions and are very grateful for the NHS and those who have driven the Vaccination process in the face of differing opinions of the media and all the "clever dicks" who claim to have the answers, but who will never have to make the agonising decisions themselves!

 

I have to say though, I am totally fed up with the "Anti Vaxers" - I understand some people are medically unable to take the precaution of Vaccine and some are scared but when the morons who invade test centres while spouting propaganda based on lies I really get mad!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

24/12/2021
Merry Christmas & a Happy & Healthy New Year

 

Dear English Apple Man readers with so much happening in our personal lives and across our nation, this week's Journal will be a short one!

 

Christmas for small children means the excitement of Santa calling and presents beneath the tree while we must remember the origin of the meaning of Christmas as Christ was born to Mary & Joseph in a manger in Bethlehem

 

 

See full article

 

17/12/2021
Open Day at Kirkland

 

This week the English Apple Man reports on a visit to the Kirkland Open Day

 

Based at Griffins Farm near Maidstone in Kent, the team led by Scott Worsley have built a strong reputation as major supplier of specialised machinery to the UK fruit and viticulture industries.

 

 

See full article

 

10/12/2021
Celebrating British Wine

 

British Wine production is increasing at an 'almost exponential rate' and the Vineyard & Winery Show held at The Kent Event Centre at Detling Showground on Wednesday 24th November underlined the buoyant nature of this expanding industry.

 

Below: Jamie McGrorty

 

The volume of production may be small on a Global, or even European scale, but in these difficult times for UK horticulture, the success of UK Viticulture is heartening.

 

Before the show a statement from Vineyard Magazine

 

Vineyard is proud to announce that Sarah Calcutt - National Fruit Show Chair for the past 11 years and a Livery Member of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, has agreed to be Event Director, working closely with exhibitors, producers and sponsors to ensure that The Vineyard Show quickly becomes an unmissable event in the UK's wine industry calendar.

 

With more than 1,300 pre-registered tickets and a final number of visitors in excess of 2,000 underlined the foresight of Vineyard Magazine Publisher Jamie McGrorty one of the inspirational figures behind this highly successful new show.

 

 

 

 

World renowned wine writer and monthly Vineyard columnist Matthew Jukes conducted a structured wine tasting for 120 guests on the day Starting at 13:00 each guest was presented with 6 UK wines to sample. Selected by Matthew, these included still, sparkling and Rose.

 

Over the course of an hour, Matthew explained why he feels each one is special and warrants acclaim. This was an opportunity to have an exclusive insight into the very best of British wines with one of the world's leading wine writers.

 

 

The Mathew Jukes - Structured Wine Tasting was sponsored by Urban Bar and HSBC. At just £20 per participant. Proceeds of ticket sales will be donated to the Drinks Trust.

 

See full article

 

03/12/2021
Not an easy week!

 

This week The English Apple Man intended to write about The Vineyard Show held last week at The Kent Event Centre at Detling in Maidstone, BUT, forgive me instead I will be remembering our "Retirement Baby" who came to us in June 2007 but sadly left us on Wednesday 1st December.

 

Please forgive my indulgent grief, and while recognising most of my readers will have gone through the same painful heartache at some stage in their lives, probably more than once!

 

Poppy was our third dog in 58 years of marriage. The first: Cindy a Jack Russell, the second Bob a Jack Russell x Springer Spaniel.

 

Poppy born on 19th March 2007 just 10 days before I retired has been an absolute joy for nearly 15 years!

 

 

 

See full article

 

26/11/2021
The English Apple Man visits a new packing and storage complex in East Kent

 

On Tuesday The English Apple Man joined fellow members of East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) for the society visit to Hoaden Court Farm

 

The autumn EKFS visit to AC Hulme & Sons at Hoaden Court to see the packhouse facility built in 2020 and a new block of long-term DCA cold storage built in 2021.

 

AC Hulme is a family farming business extending to 4,000 acres in the further reaches of East Kent,

 

See full article

 

19/11/2021
It's been an unusual week for The English Apple Man

 

The English Apple Man is feeling his age!

 

This week I attended two Funeral Services for distinguished members of the fruit fraternity.

 

The first on Thursday a Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Malcolm Withnall at Holy Cross Church Bearsted Kent.

 

The second on Friday a Celebration of Life for Alan Todd at St. Michael and All Angels Church Marden in Kent.

 

See full article

 

12/11/2021
The English Apple Man on Staycation in Wiltshire

 

Lockdown and family health issues have kept the EAM and his brother apart for nearly six months.

 

Below: Our abode in Wiltshire

 

 

See full article

 

05/11/2021
A last look at National Fruit Show 2021

 

This week, one last look at the National Fruit Show 2021.

 

Below: National Fruit Show Executive Chair Sarah Calcutt with Master of Ceremonies Chris Rose and Auctioneer Clive Emson

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

29/10/2021
More news from National Fruit Show 2021

 

Last week, The English Apple Man reported on news from the NFS 2021. With so much activity, it will need 2-3 weeks to do justice to this year's show, especially as it was the first 'live event' since 2019.

 

Below: The Minister Victoria Prentis MP opens the 2012 Show accompanied NFS President Teresa Wickham

 

The 2021 show was opened by the Minister for Farming, Fisheries and Food, Victoria Prentis MP (Cons, Banbury & North Oxfordshire), with NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw also in attendance. The Minister met growers and toured the show, accompanied by other key figures including representatives of POs and the new ELMS programme.

 

There were just under 90 exhibitors at the show and the NFS team is delighted that many businesses who have supported the event for several decades have returned, while there are also a great number of new sponsors and exhibitors attending for the first time.

 

The pictures in this week's Journal were all supplied by Martin Apps - Countrywide Photographic - Official Photographer for The National Fruit Show The English Apple Man thanks Martin for his brilliant photos!

 

See full article

 

22/10/2021
Reporting from The National Fruit Show

 

The 88th edition of The National Fruit Show held on Wednesday and Thursday 20th/21st October, was a welcome return to a live show after the 2020 show like so many other event became a ZOOM event.

 

Before continuing with this week's Journal, I have sad news to report.

 

Below: Malcolm Withnall, a grower, educator, journalist and friend

 

On Wednesday 20th October Malcolm Withnall, one of our apple industry's great characters passed away peacefully after a prolonged illness. Ironically Malcolm was a great friend and colleague of Roger Worraker who passed away in September.

 

They were the authors of two outstanding educational books: In 1997 a book written by Roger & Malcolm Withnall was published. Titled Royal Gala in England, the book was a grower's guide to improve production.

 

They collaborated again on a new publication formally launched at the 2013 National Fruit Show - the 'Apple Pruning Manual, explaining the science of pruning apple trees.

 

 

Malcolm's funeral will be a private family service, but his wife Anna told me today that a Memorial Service will be held at Bearsted, near Maidstone in Kent in the near future.

 

See full article

 

15/10/2021
English Apples & Pears champion growers environmental committment

 

In this week's Journal, News from British Apples and Pears and Maturity update for Braeburn and Magic Star

 

Tomorrow - Saturday 16th October a Memorial Service will be held at 2.30pm for Roger Worraker a great stalwart of the top fruit industry and a champion of UK Gala apple development.

 

Venue: St Thomas A Becket Church - Church Lane , Capel , Five Oak Green, Tonbridge TN12 6SX

 

Below: Roger with his young disciples from Capel Primary School learning about pollination

 

 

See full article

 

08/10/2021
Observing the supply chain challenges

 

The English Apple Man observes the current issues regarding a deficit of workers in agriculture, Recognising the problem is not confined to harvest workers on fruit and vegetable farms across the Nation!

 

On Monday while visiting an apple grower friend, and asking "so how is harvesting going? - short of pickers came the reply, I have only had three this past two weeks, normally (with a full crop) I would need 12-14 pickers. Thankfully, the crop is lighter this year so 10 would suffice. I hope to get some more at the end of the week (from a fellow apple grower).

 

He said he still has some Gala to pick and is 'crossing his fingers' the pickers will arrive in time!

 

 

 

See full article

 

01/10/2021
No time to waste as Gala harvest races on and the late varieties will be ready before we know it!

 

As we move into October with our apple & pear growers fully involved with harvest, the finest of UK apples and pears will be the centrepiece of fruit shows over the next few weeks.

 

It's Showtime in October

 

Already, The Malvern Autumn Show has passed last weekend (September 24th, 25th & 26th)

 

On Saturday 2nd October (tomorrow) from 10am Cranbrook Apple Fayre takes place in the streets of Cranbrook in Kent

 

Brogdale Collections offer various opportunities under their HERITAGE EVENTS for visitors to book guided tours of the orchard collections.

 

The National Fruit Show takes place on Wednesday & Thursday 20th/21st October at The Kent Event Centre at Detling in Kent.

 

See full article

 

24/09/2021
2021 Apple picking now in 'Full Flow' as Gala picking gets cracking!

 

As apple harvest of the larger volume varieties 'takes off' The English Apple Man visits Adrian Scripps Ltd where 7 new REVO harvesting rigs were moving smoothly across an orchard of Jugala.

 

NOTICE

 

In last week's Journal The English Apple Man reported the sad passing of Roger Worraker.

 

Roger's sons James and Jonathan wish to let his many friends know that a Memorial Service to celebrate Roger's life will be held on Saturday 16th October at 2.30pm at:

 

St Thomas A Becket Church - Church Lane , Capel , Five Oak Green, Tonbridge TN12 6SX

 

 

 

See full article

 

17/09/2021
The end of an era as the 2021 harvest accelerates

 

As apple & pear harvest is well underway, The English Apple Man learnt of the sad passing of a great friend and mentor to so many UK apple growers.

 

Roger Worraker, sadly passed away on Tuesday 14th September after a short illness.

 

Below: Roger Worraker in his last year as a Judge at The National Fruit Show in October 2019

 

For many years The English Apple Man was paired with Roger as judges of the 'internal disorders' element of the 'Show Fruit' Class of the annual National Fruit Show.

 

The 2019 show was the last before the Covid-19 lockdown changed the format.

 

I will always appreciate his wisdom and cherish the time we spent together discussing the myriad of elements that influence growing apples successfully!

 

See full article

 

10/09/2021
Apple harvest in the Himalaya's

 

This week's English Apple Man Journal features a story from my good friend Vikram Singh Thakur, or Himalayan Apple Man junior as he styles himself!

 

Vikram works in the UK for a Multi National Company, but deep in his roots is the family orchards back home in Shimla in the Himalaya.

 

Every apple harvest he spends his holiday helping his Dad Lakshmam with the picking and packing operation.

 

In May 2013 The EAM met Vikram's father Lakshmam Thakur while he was on a visit to Vikram and his family.

 

Click on: English Apple Man meets Himlayan Apple Man

 

 

 

See full article

 

03/09/2021
It's a late season but apple harvest is near

 

It's a late season, but we are getting close to harvesting mainstream apple varieties.

 

Early season Discovery and Estivale have been harvested, and Scrumptious is 'there or thereabouts'

 

Bramley for long term storage should be underway, and Bramley in general by 6th September.

 

A message from a farming friend

 

Hi John, I am looking for Quinces for a distillery to make liqueurs.

 

I have supplied them for a couple of years but they need more.

 

If delivered in bins to Pembury the approx. price is £800 per tonne.

 

Good quality fruit needed.

 

Please respond to

 

See full article

 

27/08/2021
Meeting the challenges of today!

 

The challenges of fruit growers today (apart from making a profit) are obtaining and maintaining a labour force and balancing this vital element with a responsibility for the environment.

 

This week's Journal contains a lot of detail - primarily due to the desire to make all my readers fully aware of the lengths our grower take to ensure the production of 'healthy quality fruit' grown in an 'environmentally safe and sustainable way'

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

20/08/2021
Walking a winning orchard

 

On Tuesday evening The English Apple Man joined many visitors to AC Goatham's 'Shrubbery Farm' at Eastry in East Kent for the walk of the Winning EKFS 'Orchard of the year. Shrubbery Farm is one of 25 farms belonging to AC Goatham & Son across Kent.

 

Click on AC Goatham Our Orchards

 

Across the apple & pear industry, yields in 2021 will be 'generally' below 2020 'primarily' due to frost, the orchards we visited are predicted to produce similar to 2020 and in some cases above 2020. The one notable exception is the Braeburn in Block 17 which is anticipated to be down from 80 tonnes in 2020 to 60 tonnes per hectare in 2021!

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

13/08/2021
It's competition time!

 

At this time of the year top fruit growers in Kent & Sussex have the opportunity to demonstrate their good management by entering 'one or two' or indeed both of the long standing Orchard Competitions organised by Weald NFU and East Kent Fruit Society.

 

On Wednesday many fruit growers attended the Weald NFU - Paddock Wood Orchard competition walk at the Winning farm - owned by Ian & Nick Overy. This competition is celebrating 70 years since the first one.

 

Welcoming visitors to the Farm Walk of the winning farm for the 2021 NFU competition, Group Secretary Martin Webber commented: "every year we face challenges, weather, crop quality, yields etc. but the last 18 months has delivered totally unprecedented challenges"

 

"This year's winners; Ian Overy Farms run by father & son partnership Ian and Nick Overy welcome visitors to Burrs Hill Farm on a very pleasant evening - Martin thanked the judges for their invaluable contribution and sponsors for their support"

 

SPONSORS: Avalon Produce Ltd. and BASF

 

See full article

 

06/08/2021
'Bits and pieces'

 

This week, The English Apple Man looks at a number of 'bits and pieces' - a mixture of stories about fruit and fruit related items.

 

News:

 

Weald Group NFU 70th Orchard Competition won by Ian & Nick Overy at Burrs Hill Farm, Brenchley.

 

Walk of Winning Orchard set for 11th August 6.30pm

 

EKFS Orchard of the year won by AC Goatham with a Gala Orchard at Shrubbery Farm, Eastry.

 

Walk of winning orchard set for 17th August @ 5.30pm

 

See full article

 

30/07/2021
Fruit Focus 2021

 

After the intrusion of COVID 19 last summer, FRUIT FOCUS returned on July 21st as a LIVE event.

 

The message from the organisers: Plan your visit and build a program that suits your personal needs/ interests.

 

"Hear from over 50 experts, innovators and policymakers, highlighting hot industry topics across all fields ranging from recruitment, farm and agricultural policies to robotics and optimise biological controls and IPM programs.

 

Guided tours of NIAB EMR's will be available throughout the day showcasing the latest fruit research facilities.

 

You can also see the latest fruit technology in action from leading providers including, Autonomous Spray Solutions, Berry Gardens and SAGA Robotics".

 

 

 

See full article

 

23/07/2021
Growing fruit on the Greensand Ridge - BIFGA Farm Walk

 

On Monday 19th July, The English Apple Man experienced some degree of normality as the BIFGA summer farm walk took place at Giles Cannon's delightfully scenic Roughway Farm at Plaxtol high on the Greensand Ridge.

 

It was the EAM's first venture out to a 'LIVE EVENT' since Lockdown took away any sense of normality!

 

Below: Kevin Workman Agrii

BIFGA would like to acknowledge the very generous support being given towards this event by:

Agrii, The Crossways, Alconbury Hill, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 4JH.

 

Website: www.agrii.co.uk

 

Contact: Kevin Workman kevin.workman@agrii.co.uk

 

 

See full article

 

16/07/2021
Cherries

 

British Cherries are now well in season and will continue until the last are picked in September in Scottish Cherry Orchards

 

This week The English Apple Man visited Michael Dallaway at his Cherry Orchard in Sandhurst in Kent.

 

Michael grows cherries at four different sites on the Kent/ East Sussex border. He sets his standards extremely high and only picks the cherries when they are fully ripened so that each and every cherry is a truly mouth watering experience. Come and find the stall to try some of the best cherries you will ever have eaten.

 

During the 6-7 weeks of the cherry season Michael will bring over a dozen different varieties for you to be able to try at selected markets.

 

We also produce our own pure and unsweetened Kentish Cherry Juice. Once pressed, the cherry juice isn't sweetened, or anything added, as the flavour is just perfect.

 

It has a beautifully natural cherry flavour, almost as good as eating fresh Kent cherries! The cherry juice comes in 1 litre bottles and each litre of juice contains approximately 3kgs of pressed cherries. We also supply the cherry juice in 250ml bottles.

 

 

 

See full article

 

09/07/2021
Cherry winning orchard

 

At this time of the year, orchard competitions take place and Judges visit those growers who fancy their chances of winning a trophy.

 

East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) has been running competitions since way back before WW2.

 

This week EKFS organised a walk of the winning orchard from 2020 at John Hinchcliffe's New House Farm near Canterbury in East Kent.

 

Where the walk of Winning Apple & Pear orchards takes place in the same season, clearly judging cherries and organising a walk of the winning orchard is impractical in the same season, so historically the visit to the winning farm takes place the following summer.

 

John Hinchcliffe has grown apples and pears at New House Farm for many years and until recently grew Strawberries. He also grows Blackcurrants. Sadly The English Apple Man could not attend (health issues) but my good friends Brian and Norma Tompsett were present and sent pictures and their report back to me.

 

See full article

 

02/07/2021
'Bits and Pieces'

 

As we enter July, The English Apple Man takes a look at what's going on!

 

The Big Story this week is the launch of the British Cherry Season.

 

Below: Cherry pictures sent to me by Steve 'Cherryman' Castle, manager at Mount Ephraim in Herne Hill

 

 

Mount Ephraim is one of the earlier Cherry sites and Steve told me they are into their third week of cherry harvest. Come September the last cherries will be picked in Scotland. Prospects for GB Cherries are very good!

 

 

 

See full article

 

25/06/2021
Turning back the clock?

 

Regular readers of The English Apple Man, will be very aware of the rapid changes in apple production systems over the last few years.

 

While it took some time for 'very high density' planting systems to establish here in the UK, intensification was advanced in Europe, particularly in Belgium and Holland.

 

Below: 2 Dimensional tree management

 

Over the last 2-3 years, technology has transformed the management of apple orchards, allied with very narrow (2 dimensional systems) and the creation of 'digital orchards' enabling monitoring of temperature, light interception, leaf nutrient status, moisture and an increasing range of measurements allowing the fruit grower to tweak the needs of the tree down to an individual level.

 

The use of drones to map orchards down to individual trees, the introduction of sophisticated orchard sprayers capable of delivering pre planned quantities of protectants to individual trees, indeed to 3 selected zones on each individual tree is transforming the way orchards are managed.

 

As someone who has spent more than 60 years involved with fruit growing and in particular apples, I marvel at the application of new science.

 

It was then, a surprise to read an excellent article by Ross Courtney in the Good Fruit Grower magazine regarding a family of apple growers in the northern regions of Washington State, who are 'turning back the clock' by growing their apple trees less intensively!

 

See full article

 

18/06/2021
Rewarding many years of excellence

 

It is always nice to see members of our industry rewarded for the years of excellence given in support of fruit growing!

 

On Tuesday evening at the East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) Soft Fruit visit to Paul Kelsey's Quaives Farm, Wickhambreaux, near Canterbury, Brian and Norma Thompsett received the prestigious 'David Hilton Memorial Medal' presented by EKFS Vice Chairman Paul Hamlyn

 

DAVID HILTON MEMORIAL MEDAL

 

David Hilton was a well respected East Kent fruit grower, A tireless supporter of the UK fruit industry and of the East Kent Fruit Society. He gave a large amount of time and energy back to the industry and was one of Kent fruit growing's unsung heroes.

 

In his memory, The East Kent Fruit Society decided to create an award for services to the fruit industry in Kent and beyond. The intended recipients are those who have given something something back to the industry, who have not been and are unlikely to be recognised in other ways.

 

 

 

 

 

Recipients are typically approaching the end of a career or stepping down from a defining role. Previous recipients have been growers, managers, advisors, research scientists, technologists, lecturers and others from key industry roles.

 

It is not aimed at recognising commercial or business success as Society competitions reflect this.

 

 

 

See full article

 

11/06/2021
Assessing this years crop potential

 

When I was a young man, speculation about the fruit set was, like today a topical subject. Members of the 'wise older generation would say, keep out of your orchards until Derby Day (then the first Wednesday in June) then take a look!

 

Times have changed, and the modern tree format shows fruitlets much more easily than the large trees back in my youth!

 

 

 

See full article

 

04/06/2021
Pollinating IPM Flower strips, Earwigs and Canker updates

 

At the Recent BIFGA Technical Day, Scientists from NIAB EMR presented the latest developments in managing wildflowers and canker control.

 

IPM Flower Strips - Beneficial Refuges; Dr Michelle Fountain - Canker Research; Dr Matevz Papp-Rupar

 

 

See full article

 

28/05/2021
BIFGA Technical Day 2021 & Press Release from AC Goatham

 

First - SORRY - I had intended to cover the Vineyard Video between Scott Raffle and Paul Tuteirhiha, but I need to refer to the recording (currently unavailable) to ensure accurate representation. Maybe next week!

 

So, this week's Journal will feature the 33rd BIFGA TECHNICAL DAY IN THE WEST KENT AREA WEDNESDAY 26TH MAY 2021

 

This year, due to Covid, the technical day is being split into several separate afternoon/early evening tours to allow small, socially distanced groups to visit three farms and one cold storage site.

 

Also, a Press Release regarding International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena MP visit to AC Goatham & Son.

 

 

See full article

 

21/05/2021
Plums and Grapes

 

East Kent Fruit Society visited NIAB/EMR via ZOOM on Tuesday for a Plum and Grape update!

 

Centrepiece of the event involved Scott Raffle AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager, on video interviewing research personnel at the Plum Centre and the experimental Vineyard.

 

The Plum Centre featured the interview by Scott Raffle of Marzena Lipska, Karen Everitt and Celine Silva.

 

Scott Raffle also conducted the The Vineyard interview, with Paul Tuteirihia.

 

In this week's Journal we will look at the Plum Demonstration Centre and next week review the experimental Vineyard

 

 

 

See full article

 

14/05/2021
Challenges and Opportunities

 

Life brings it's challenges and opportunities; the apple business is no exception!

 

While we are still in that uncertain stage where the influence of frost damage in recent weeks has, or still may, reduce the crop potential for UK apples, pears, and stone fruit, post Brexit trade deals open potential opportunities for new exports of UK apples .

 

Small amounts of English apples have been exported in the past, usually of large apples not in demand with our consumers, the preference being for mid range sizes.

 

The export of British apples and pears to India represents an exciting opportunity for UK growers. However, with the UK only currently producing around 40% of apples and 20% of pears consumed in the UK, it is important to remember that there is huge scope to further develop our own markets, particularly following Brexit'.

 

 

 

See full article

 

07/05/2021
Apple blossom at last!!!!!!!!!

 

Apple blossom time is so special, and it's creeping in this year rather than rushing in!

 

Below: Bladon Pippin at advanced Pink Bud stage, another warm day and it will be fully open

 

We have had a bit more warmth this week, but not enough to create a blaze of blossom, that having been said, there comes a time when the blossom emerges regardless!

 

Bladon Pippin has Cox as one parent, and aligns with Cox at the blossom stage.

 

Discovery, Red Devil, Red Windsor and James Grieve are ahead, in bloom with pollen sacs open on many flowers.

 

Christmas Pippin is a little behind.

 

Commercial varieties; Braeburn and Gala at early bloom and Jazz more advanced at full bloom/early petal fall stage.

 

The weather forecast for the next week suggests warmer temperatures, but also copious rain!

 

Lets cross our fingers and hope the bees pollinate and pollen tube growth results in a decent fruit set!

 

 

 

See full article

 

30/04/2021
Goodbye to a friend

 

A CELEBRATION FOR THE LIFE OF RICHARD DAY 15.09.1969- 06.04.2021

 

From time to time, we lose a member of the fruit farming fraternity, but losing one so young is an absolute tragedy.

 

Richard Day's family and close friends gathered at St. Michael & All Angels Church Marden in Kent on Friday 23rd April to celebrate his life.

Born into a farming family in Marden, Kent, Richard attended Dulwich Prep School at Cranbrook and then Marlborough House Prep School in Hawkhurst, followed by Eastbourne College (1982-87) and finally Writtle agricultural college.

 

Interestingly David Gower just 12 years Richard's senior and a future England Cricket Captain and precocious left-handed batsman also attended Marlborough House school, from 8-13 years old.

 

See full article

 

23/04/2021
It's a bit warmer this week, and apples & academia

 

There is still a bit of frost about and while the sunshine has been welcome this past week, any breeze has a cold edge to it!

 

The English Apple Man has a new friend!

 

Back in January, The English Apple Man was approached by an academic lady seeking advice on who to speak to in the apple industry, as she had been awarded funding for a research project funded by The Leverhulme Trust.

 

"I hope that you don't mind me contacting you out of the blue.

 

I'm an anthropologist, and I'm in the fortunate position of having funding to work on apples for the next three years. I'm writing to ask for your help! I really hope that's okay. I'm certain that you are very busy, and I don't want to impose, but at the same time I think that you are the best person to ask about apples - what I need to know and how I should go about finding it out! I love your website and I particularly enjoy the fact that you are so curious about everything to do with apples. I feel the same way"

 

 

 

See full article

 

16/04/2021
Planning ahead

 

After the prolonged lockdown and many events only surviving virtually 'on line' - The Marden Fruit Show Society is planning this year's National Fruit Show as a live event at The Kent Exhibition Centre on October 20th and 21st.

 

This week the Society held the Virtual AGM via ZOOM and confirmed the plans for this year are progressing very well with most trade stands already booked.

 

It seems everyone associated with our top fruit industry cannot wait to get back to 'as near normality as possible' - it may well transpire that we will still be required to wear masks, and handshaking may still be by 'elbow bumping' but the thought of admiring the best of British Apples & Pears on the central show stand, plus nuts and soft fruit entries, is already getting 'our juices running' - the added prospect of exploring a show full of trade exhibitors wets the appetite as well!

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

09/04/2021
Frost!!!!!!!!!

 

Frost is the fear for fruit growers, vineyards and gardeners, and this past week, Jack Frost has paid a call on UK apple and pear growers. Vineyards in France have been facing frost damage since February

 

Below: two flowers; one ok and the other 'black and dead'

Of course there are (at least) five flowers on each bud and one or two being lost to frost, is not necessarily a disaster!

 

My agronomist friend in Kent shares his findings!

 

Quite a bit of frost damage on Bramley's in the Weald. Also, quite bad on Braeburn in low-lying areas as well. Not a disaster yet, as most of the worst affected orchards got frosted last year as well, so there was way too much bud on the trees. Could do with some good weather in flowering now to save the day.

 

In France

 

The French government has declared an agricultural disaster after an unusual early spring frost damaged crops and vines across the country.

 

Below: Frost Candles at Chablis in France

 

See full article

 

02/04/2021
What's going on in our orchards and a few other things!

 

Warm this week, but turned colder today!

 

Left: The English Apple Man's Magnolia Tree

 

Tuesday was registered as the warmest March day since 1968 @ 24.2C. It was also The English Apple Man's 58th Wedding Anniversary and as we enjoyed a 'smoked salmon sandwich' in the garden at lunch time, I remarked how our Magnolia tree blossom had advanced from early morning and the apple tree bud on our Red Devil tree was showing distinctive signs of green leaf.

 

By the evening as we enjoyed a glass of Chablis, the advancement was almost breath taking!

 

See full article

 

26/03/2021
Our orchards are coming to life as Spring beckons!

 

The sap is rising and early signs of a new season are evident. Looking at past years, this season is very similar to 2020 in terms of bud development. What happens in the next few weeks will determine when apple blossom reaches full bloom.

 

Below Discovery bud at 'Bud Burst' in The English Apple Man's garden.

 

How quickly the fruit bud develops will depend totally on the weather over the coming few weeks!

 

Forecast of warmer over the next week, balanced by a colder spell over Easter, will create a 'start/stop' situation but as in previous years, once things are 'on the move' another burst of warm weather will drive the buds towards blossom.

 

Looking back to 2020 (who want's to?) - by mid April many varieties were at the Pink Bud stage with some buds in Full Bloom. The mix of varieties today has changed since Cox was the dominant variety, which delivers Full Bloom over a longer period with Braeburn ahead of Gala and Cox as an example. There was a time when Cox was in full bloom circa 7th May. Today climate change has brought the blossom stage forward by a week to ten days!

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

19/03/2021
High Flying Technology

 

We live in an age of technology, the exponential rate of expansion is sometimes difficult to keep up with.

 

Drones are suggested as the panacea for many tasks. But when did the first (UAV) Unmanned Arial Vehicle first appear?

 

The first stop in our drone history timeline is the very early history of drones. First, for those who don't know, it's important to establish that the word "drone" simply refers to any aerial vehicle that is unmanned.

 

That is, the pilot does not sit or stand within the vehicle itself.

 

By this definition, the earliest unmanned aerial vehicle in the history of drones was seen in 1839, when Austrian soldiers attacked the city of Venice with unmanned balloons filled with explosives.

 

UAV technology improved throughout World War II (which saw a number of technological advancements as we all know) and into the Cold War as well.

 

 

 

 

What we do know is that modern drone warfare began in earnest in 1982, when Israel coordinated the use of battlefield UAVs alongside manned aircraft to wipe out the Syrian fleet with very minimal losses.

 

2006 was the first year that the (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a commercial drone permit. They issued an average of two of these permits a year for the next eight years - that was all that was requested.

 

As unmanned aerial vehicle technology improved in the military sector, those same technological improvements could be used in the private sector.

 

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the history of non-military drone use began in earnest in 2006.

 

Then, in 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the company was considering using drones as a delivery method, igniting the public's interest in drone history. In 2015, the FAA issued 1000 drone permits, a number which more than tripled to 3100 permits in 2016 and which has continued to grow in the time since.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

12/03/2021
Terroir is considered important to production of the finest wines, does 'Terroir' also influence apple quality?

 

'Terroir' - "the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, which factors such as the soil, topography and climate.

 

The characteristic taste and flavour imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced .

 

Might 'terroir' be applicable to apple growing as well?

 

Certainly soil quality, location, drainage, nutrition, as well as variety, and tree management combine to influence the yield and quality.

 

But 'Terroir'

 

See full article

 

05/03/2021
Confronting Woolly Apple Aphid

 

Looking back at the AHDB webinar held in February - Woolly Apple Aphid, a problem which has been around for centuries, has been noticeably problematic for apple growers in recent years, and is the subject of AHDB funded research at NIAB/EMR.

 

What is Woolly Apple Aphid (WAA)?

 

Woolly aphid also known as American blight; its Latin name is Eriosoma lanigerum. It affects apples (eating and crab) pyracantha and Cotoneaster horizontalis. The cause; a sap-sucking aphid (insect) active from April to October.

 

 

 

See full article

 

26/02/2021
Making use of modern technolgy

 

Making use of modern technology is on an exponential journey!

 

This week The English Apple Man has attended three webinars, all dominated by new technology designed to make fruit growing more efficient and more environmentally sustainable.

 

First a look at a new Solar installation at the UK's largest apple & pear grower; AC Goatham.

 

On Tuesday a NetaFim webinar illustrated the importance of efficient irrigation for crops and sustaiabiity.

 

On Thursday the annual AHDB Tree Fruit Day was this year, an on-line event.

 

And Today Friday 26th February: What's New in 2021 for UK Fruit Growers in Sustainability and Tech.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

19/02/2021
More about the City Food Lecture

 

Last week The English Apple Man reported on the broader aspects of The City Food Lecture.

 

The City Food Lecture, now in its 20th year is an annual, invitation-only high-profile fixture in the City of London and international food industry calendars. The Lecture is delivered every year by a leading figure in the food business who is invited to speak about the issues they regard as most important in shaping the way food is produced, distributed, marketed, sold and consumed.

 

The Key Note Speaker for the City Food Lecture 2021 was Mel Smith CBE, the Chief Executive of Ocado Retail, the world's largest pureplay online grocer.

 

In this week's Journal The English Apple Man expands on the content of Mel Smith's Lecture.

 

See full article

 

12/02/2021
Commercial and technical review

 

This week The English Apple Man had the opportunity to review the commercial and technical influences on our fruit industry.

 

Invited to be a virtual attendee at The City Food Lecture on Wednesday and FAST Technical Conference on Thursday, enabled a better understanding of the technology central to how retail food suppliers deliver our groceries onto our plate and the influences of technical advancement on fruit production in delivering a profit to the primary producer while satisfying the demands of today's retail industry.

 

This week's English Apple Man Journal will only embrace the top line elements of each event, leaving more detailed coverage for future EAM Journals.

 

Two elements of the separate events 'hit home' - "the intensity of collecting and interrogating data" by the retail industry and the "huge investment required by the producers" to stay in the competition for customers.

 

 

 

See full article

 

05/02/2021
PhD Opportunity supported by Sainsburys

 

Reducing food loss and waste is essential to ensure food security and in achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 and Sainsbury's Supermarkets Plc sustainability targets.

 

This opportunity for a young academic was brought to my attention and if anyone is interested;

 

The closing date for applications will be 8 February 2021

 

See full article

 

29/01/2021
Communication with consumers

 

From time two time, The English Apple Man receives comments from consumers. They may exude praise, or sometimes frustration.

 

This week a mix of consumer comments polarises my thoughts.

 

Below: British Conference Pear

 

Home grown pears have not cropped as heavily this past year and added to many UK pear growers grubbing their old poor cropping orchards a consequence is that 'home grown pears' are not as prevalent.

 

Add to that the influence of COVID-19 has resulted in some changes in consumer shopping habits and all British Grown apples & pears selling strongly, and available volumes running out earlier than usual.

 

Dutch or Belgian pears are the leaders in European pear production with their modern intensive orchards and a slightly more favourable climate for pear production. Their marketing strategy tends to target the UK market once British pears are drawing to an end. Hence we are already seeing Dutch Conference pears in our Supermarkets.

 

For many years it has been felt we could not match the yields and quality of Benelux pears, however with a better understanding and newer rootstocks, new intensive Conference pears orchards are growing in excess of 50 tonnes per hectare, well in excess of the 20 + tonnes average of the older orchards.

 

 

See full article

 

22/01/2021
Remembering an old friend

 

I don't know why, but there always seems to be the loss of someone we know as Christmas approaches.

 

In December I lost my Step Mother, albeit at a great age (95) and thankfully of old age, not the frightening virus destroying so many lives here and across the world.

 

Two days earlier on 8th December, an old friend succumbed after a short illness.

 

Robert Simpson was a great character and a top class fruit grower at Upton Bishop in Herefordshire, visiting Robert at his Chicory Crops business was always enjoyable and enlightening.

 

I was asked to write Robert's obituary for The Fruit Grower (published recently) and this week I have re-published his obituary on-line with a few additions.

 

 

 

See full article

 

15/01/2021
Growing for the environment, people and profit

 

In these troubled times, much is said about Covid-19 & Brexit, but the state of the Environment is the subject of much spoken and written word.

 

Making a success of business in this day and age is no longer just about making a profit

 

A story of success - Environment, People & Profit

 

It is now 25 years since I first met Angus Davison while visiting his Mother Cilla Clive at her farm at Ledbury.

 

Arriving with my colleague at Redbank, Cilla's fruit farm with views over historic Ledbury, essentially to discuss apple storage with Cilla, Angus was there to offer support to his mother.

 

From that visit I developed a lasting friendship with Cilla and her partner Tim Sobey.

 

See full article

 

08/01/2021
Important Research and Development Information

 

The English Apple Man recognizes the importance of investment in research and technology which has benefitted the horticultural industry in terms of the safe and efficient production of British produce. As a former fruit grower and technical director of a major UK supplier, I have been close to the ongoing research into fruit growing.

 

During that time, the medium for research has been a statutory body set up by Government to administer the funding by levy of research projects.

 

In recent years the Horticultural Development Council (HDC) morphed into the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) in 2008.

 

This statutory body which includes different grower representation groups, like The Tree Fruit Panel where growers are elected to advise on which areas of research are most important for investment. It is important to recognise the Government does not have a mandatory commitment to match the research funds levied from growers. Although public funds can and are used to support the funding of various research projects. For instance INNOVATE UK is one such financial source.

 

The current position sees AHDB as a statutory body 'up for election' - with some producer sectors ready to vote NO as they see no meaningful benefit for paying a levy which delivers them little in return. Other producer organisations however see an important role for the continuation of AHDB, albeit in a 'restructured way.

 

See full article

 

01/01/2021
As one year ends another one beckons

 

Most of us (probably all of us) are glad to see back of 2020!

 

As we move into a New Year, we all hope for better times ahead. But in all probability, the situation will worsen before it improves.

 

I find the multitude of viewpoints the most difficult to deal with. Sure the Government have not handled the challenge as well as they might, but some of the theories proposed are frankly ridiculous. The argument that carrying on as usual, "while protecting the elderly and vulnerable, is a pipe dream" - if keeping the spread of the virus and associated death is very difficult in lockdown, how on earth can letting the Virus 'rip' be anything other than crazy!

 

The hospitals are struggling now, so how on earth if a dramatic increase in infection rates and hospitalisation would our wonderful doctors and nurses cope.

 

In March this message from a young lady in Spain regarding her father who is a Doctor on the front line fighting this evil virus portrays the dangers and anxiety suffered by innocent souls.

 

Health professionals are not risking their lives every day for you to be living like nothing is happening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

24/12/2020
Happy Christmas to all my readers

 

After the year we have all endured, The English Apple Man wishes all my readers as Happy a Christmas as the circumstances allow.

 

For many, no easily delivered platitudes will comfort the loss of loved ones, or the sadness at being apart from family this year.

 

But let's remember the celebration of Christ's Birth is the real reason we enjoy this festive season and not the commercial bonanza we have all become accustomed to.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

18/12/2020
Just one week to Christmas

 

Gosh, it's coming round fast, Christmas that is!

 

So little time and lots to do!

 

From time to time, The English Apple Man takes a look at what is going on in other major fruit growing countries.

 

This week an article by Kate Prengaman in The Good Fruit Grower magazine caught my eye!

 

Kate Prengaman

 

 

 

See full article

 

11/12/2020
End of an era

 

This week, for the first time in 11 years, there will be no English Apple Man Journal reflecting our apple & pear industry,

 

Below: Mum last year

 

Sadly my dear mother (actually my Step Mother) passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning aged 95 years.

 

As a child, my younger brother and I lost our birth mother when we were just 7 and 11 years old.

 

We were blessed with a step mother who loved us as if we were her own.

 

The wretched COVID-19 spoiled the last six months of her life for our family, no fault of the wonderful care home and loving carers who have made her last few years so comfortable and safe. We were comforted knowing she was so well cared for and loved by those responsible for her well being.

 

 

 

See full article

 

04/12/2020
More from Sampson Morgan

 

This week The English Apple Man continues the story of Sampson Morgan's - 'How To Make The Most Of The Land'

 

Last week's English Apple Man Journal concentrated on Sampson Morgan's Plan for rescuing the depressing state of UK Agriculture by proposing a Government Funded strategy for creating a viable network of small fruit farms across the country.

 

The English Apple Man has now established the publication was in 1889 and features references to data including prices dated 1884, 1885 and 1887.

 

This week the Journal will explain why this opportunity made strategic and financial sense.

 

NOTE: If any of my readers have a knowledge of Sampson Morgan please let me know as there is nothing on record to show if his plans were ever put into action

 

 

 

See full article

 

27/11/2020
Looking back

 

Thanks to the dedication of Victorian gardeners, Britain once cultivated more varieties of apple than anywhere else in the world: more than 2,000 types of apples with all sorts of tastes, textures, shapes and sizes.

 

In this week's Journal The English Apple Man looks back to the late 1880's when 'commercial production' of 'home grown' apples and pears was well below consumer demand. Enormous volumes of apples and pears were imported from The USA, Canada, Belgium and Europe.

 

A friend alerted me to a visionary of that time and his book promoting the restructuring of farming with more fruit and less reliance on corn and root crops which delivered poor financial returns.

 

The author was Sampson Morgan and his book 'How To Make The Most Of The Land' was published circa 1890.

 

 

See full article

 

20/11/2020
Seeking optimum light

 

The desire to find ways and means of improving quality and yield of apples is an ongoing pursuit.

 

Many criteria are integral to the quest, but more than any other, 'improving light interception' is high on the agenda.

 

One of the trials seeking optimum light interception is The Helios project initiated by HL Hutchinson.

 

In 2019 The English Apple Man visited one of the two trial sites with Rob Saunders, Hutchinson Agronomist leading the Helios project.

 

 

Click on: HELIOS 2019

 

See full article

 

13/11/2020
Mid November

 

Mid November is a dreary time of the year, with daylight lost by 4.15pm

 

 

See full article

 

06/11/2020
Hot Topics

 

As we enter another period of turbulent lockdown, The English Apple Man looks at some very important issues!

 

ARMAGEDDON? - well not in the true sense of the word, even if it feels like we are facing insurmountable challenges!

 

COVID-19, BREXIT, et al.

 

"I suppose it could be worse, we could be in America" or as it's more correctly known, The United States of America!

 

UNITED STATES???

 

 

At the very successful National Fruit Show held as a 'VIRTUAL' event several very important issues took centre stage.

 

This week The English Apple Man recounts some of the important issues challenging the future of British fruit production.

 

 

See full article

 

30/10/2020
More reporting from the National Fruit Show

 

In this week's Journal The English Apple Man reviews more of the presentations from last week's 'Virtual' National Fruit Show

 

Below: left; NFS President Teresa Wickham and right; NFS Chair Sarah Calcutt

 

 

See full article

 

23/10/2020
2020 National Fruit Show

 

The 87th National Fruit Show took place on 22nd October (yesterday!) as a 'one day' virtual event.

 

Judging of the show fruit and tastiest apple took place on Wednesday (21st October) - The English Apple Man was privileged - 'again' to be part of the 'Tastiest Apple' tasting panel.

 

In the last decade, either Rubens or Jazz have been judged the tastiest.

 

The 'virtual National Fruit Show had so many excellent presentations by such eminent speakers, that it will be impossible to do justice to all in one edition of The English Apple Man Journal, therefore the content will be spread over several weeks!

 

The programme!

 

10am Opening address of the show: Lord Krebs.

 

10.15am Session 1: RED Extra - British Produce Futures.

 

12pm - 2pm: The National Fruit Show Live's Technical Experts Forum.

 

2pm - 4.30pm. Session 2: Insight - the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and the Fruit Produce Journal present a panel discussion showcasing the latest research in top and soft fruit.

 

4.30pm: The Livery Awards.

 

5pm - 6pm: National Fruit Show Prize Winner's Announcements by a virtual cider bar with Nigel Barden.

 

 

 

See full article

 

16/10/2020
Celebrating British Apples and Pears

 

Harvest is still underway, with the late varieties Jazz and Braeburn nearing completion.

 

Next week the National Fruit Show celebrates the best of British Apples & Pears with the 87th Show

 

The Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) is a Registered Charity run by a voluntary committee who represent many different facets of the fruit industry. The aim of the Society is to promote the better growing, grading and marketing of fruit.

 

The Society organises the National Fruit Show, which acts as a meeting place for the industry. The centrepiece of the show, held each October, is the largest competitive display of commercially grown top and soft fruit staged in the UK.

 

To view a history of apples in Britain: Click on GREAT BRITISH APPLES & PEARS HISTORY

 

See full article

 

09/10/2020
October Trade Shows

 

October is the month when the 'top fruit industry' gathers to celebrate and promote our Great British Apples and Pears.

 

For the first time, this the 87th National Fruit Show will be a 'Virtual Event' due to the influence of COVID-19

 

Sponsors are always important to the success of the annual show and their support in these times of uncertainty are as important as in any normal year.

 

The sponsors.

 

UKCA with ISOLCELL

 

 

AVALON PRODUCE LTD

 

 

AGROVISTA

 

 

N.P.SEYMOUR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

02/10/2020
October brings the later maturing apples

 

All the September varieties should have been picked and as we enter October, Cameo, Jazz, Braeburn & Magic Star are next on the harvesting list.

 

 

Other September varieties

 

Below: Rubens

Rubens - harvesting should now be nearing completion on all sites

 

Below: Gala

 

Gala - Firmness has changed very little over the past week, but starch and brix levels are now falling rapidly. On many of the fruits, the conversion of starch into sugar has now finished and as the apples continue to respire, the stored sugars are utilised, resulting in the overall brix levels falling. As a result, harvesting even for short term storage should now be finished or nearing completion!

 

Cabaret - harvesting is underway.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

25/09/2020
Apple harvesting in 2020

 

Over the last 60 years, The English Apple Man has been involved with the annual apple harvest.

 

The first as a teenager 'just out of school' in 1958!

 

In those far off 'halcyon days' when trees were much, much bigger, some 25ft tall, wooden ladders were integral to the mode of picking.

 

We picked in those days with a canvas bag on our back, placing the picked fruit into the bag carefully to avoid bruising. The system was tiring and required great care. Once the bag was full, we would make our way to empty the bag, using our hands/arms to keep the bag clear of our body, or damage could/would occur!

 

The next task, emptying the contents of the bag (20-30lb of fruit) into boxes without damaging them!

 

The process meant we spent a large amount of time moving ladders, climbing 'up & down' ladders and walking carefully from tree to boxes before emptying with great care e.g. 'slowly'

 

 

 

See full article

 

18/09/2020
News of a new variety of apple, perfect for gardens.

 

There are apples that fit into the commercial sector and some best suited to a garden. All can deliver good fruit and great eating pleasure, but for the 'taste off the tree' experience, some stand out!

 

A new apple

 

BLADON PIPPIN is it's name and it has a fascinating background story

 

 

Sean Morris, the owner of the variety discovered an apple tree growing in the grounds of his office and when the tree began to produce fruit, he found the apples to be very tasty.

 

In fact he describes it as similar to Cox Orange Pippin, 'but better - When Sean retired, he decided to dig the tree up and plant it in his garden.

 

Bladon Pippin is now trade marked protecting it's unique identity. Bladon Pippin TM

 

 

 

See full article

 

11/09/2020
2020 Apple harvest is well under way!

 

It's all hands to the pump (as they say) with harvest for long term storage completed for Bramley & Cox apples and Conference pears.

 

Gala, the number one British apple has started at 'early sites' and about to get going on the remaining regions

 

harvesting Bramley at AC Goatham - after viewing the video, exit twitter and return to the EAM Journal.

 

 

Correct harvest date

 

There is general agreement that apples destined for medium or long-term storage should be in an unripe condition at the point of harvest but close to the onset of ripening (sustained increase in ethylene production and in respiration rate).

 

 

 

 

Picking too early is to be avoided since fruits are likely to have a tough texture, high acidity, low sugar and poor flavour development. Early picked fruit may also have insufficient red coloration (important for dessert cultivars) and may have increased susceptibility to storage disorders such as superficial scald, bitter pit and core flush.

 

Late picked fruit are likely to be too soft for the market and to develop disorders such as senescent breakdown during storage or marketing. The general appearance of the fruit may be adversely affected and the background colour may be too yellow for market requirements. In the case of some cultivars such as Gala, skin can become greasy when picked over-mature.

 

See full article

 

04/09/2020
Have you got an orchard in your garden?

 

As the commercial apple harvest gets seriously under way, The English Apple Man looks at growing your own.

 

It may not be possible to compete with the commercial grower on price and availability, but the joy of picking from your own tree and eating your own apples is unbeatable!

 

See full article

 

28/08/2020
Apple harvest approaches, but what about storage?

 

By the end of next week many growers will be picking Cox and Gala for 'long term storage'

 

What do we mean by long term?

 

The practice of storing apples until February/March was how we labelled, long term for many years.

 

As storage science improved, Cox crept into April and for marketing purposes that was ideal, with the arrival of Cox from New Zealand, followed by NZ Gala soon after.

 

British Gala was not considered suitable for marketing much beyond February in the early years of 'home grown' production, but as volumes built up and nutritional and storage sciences developed, Gala has been stored and marketed into early summer May/June.

 

Over the course of the last 2-3 years with the aid of DCA (Dynamic Controlled Atmosphere) storage and a better selection of fruit with the optimum 'dry matter content' - storage potential has extended, British Gala has been successfully stored into August when the first of home grown 'New Season' apples become available.

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

21/08/2020
Gala Club 2020

 

The Gala Club over the last 25 years has been instrumental in developing growing & storage practices, Gala clone advancement and public awareness, all of which has taken the variety from a minor one back in the 1990's to the 'number one apple' grown by British growers today.

 

In 2019 the Gala Club committee decided the formality of a Gala Club and annual pre-harvest meeting was no longer required. However elements of pre-harvest technical advice would now be undertaken by EKFS with the Gala Club integrated into the East Kent Fruit Society.

 

As Gala harvest approaches, forecasting optimum harvest dates is becoming more refined.

 

Below: Mark Tulley

 

The tried and tested process monitors starch levels, fruit firmness and brix (sugars) but Mark Tulley and his team at Landseer have been trialling Chlorophyll degradation as an early indicator of harvest date.

 

Landseer have been developing this process since 2012. Monitoring the chlorophyll degradation by measuring the fluorescence, Mark and his team have developed a hand held tool for measuring the fluorescence level indicating the degradation.

 

The benefit of using chlorophyll degradation over the current system is a circa 7 day forewarning of the optimum harvest date. Current science using starch reduction as the prime indicator is accurate but does not give growers 'an early warning'

 

See full article

 

14/08/2020
Award winning orchard - award winning farm!

 

The annual East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) orchard competition normally celebrates with a walk around the winning orchard. With COVID-19 still causing havoc, like so many annual events, the 2020 orchard walk has been cancelled and replaced with a 'Virtual Orchard Walk'

 

The Chair and EKFS organising committee announced this year's event.

 

"The winner of the Top Fruit Orchard Competition this year is A C Hulme and Sons with a Braeburn orchard at Brook Farm.

 

The orchard that came second overall is a Pear orchard, also at Brook Farm and it will be interesting to see the two as part of the virtual walk.

 

There will be a virtual walk of the winning top fruit orchard on Zoom from 5.30 pm".

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

07/08/2020
Apples, Apricots and a bit about bees!

 

2020 has been a year of extremes, but there are some great stories to tell!

 

The new apple season is with us: our first dessert apple, Discovery is available and if not already on Supermarket shelves, it will be in the next few days.

 

Cherries are still available in Supermarkets - The EAM bought some 'Regina' in Tesco grown by Angus Davison in Hereford - a delicious variety!

 

English Apricots have been enthusiastically received as a 'testimonial from a consumer' demonstrates beautifully!

 

As the new season apples come on line, home grown 2019 season Gala and Kentish Kiss (Magic Star) offer great visual and eating value.

 

The variety Magic Star is marketed in Tesco under the name of Kentish Kiss!

 

 

 

See full article

 

31/07/2020
Apples for a warm climate

 

As I write this week's Journal, my subject seems very appropriate. On my family tree in the garden (Discovery, James Grieve & Red Devil) the early season is accelerating with the hot weather. Today in my region (St. Leonards-on-Sea) the temperature is circa 29 degrees C. In other regions much higher.

 

When temperatures regularly reach 40C traditional (temperate climate) apples struggle to adapt.

 

While it is rare for UK temperatures to reach much beyond 30C sun scorch can be a problem in most seasons and in Europe in hotter climates sun scorch can be a real problem.

 

Below: Sun Scorch after 40C + temperatures

 

The English Apple Man saw apples exposed to 40C+ in Belgium last year and 'only a day or two' of those conditions can cause serious damage.

 

In countries where temperatures regularly rise above 40C fruit internal condition will suffer as well, so we are looking for apples that stay crisp and juicy during high temperatures and colour up well despite hot nights. Today's 'Bi- coloured apples (Gala, Braeburn et al.) need cold nights and warm days to generate red colour.

 

The solution; has to be new varieties capable of surviving and flourishing, "as global temperatures continue to rise and regions where summertime temperatures are consistently in the 'high 30 degree C + zone' are experiencing more regular temperatures of 40C +

 

See full article

 

24/07/2020
British Cherries - a great success story

 

The world of British Cherries has changed considerably over the last 25 years and 'exponentially' over the last 10 years.

 

The change from the large cherry trees which bestrode the Garden of England in the 19th century, extending well into the 20th century, started when growers moved from those very tall trees onto smaller trees grown on dwarfing rootstocks. The semi-dwarfing Colt rootstock arrived in 1970's enabling smaller trees, but due to it's characteristic need for adequate winter chill, often (most often) failed to produce a commercially worthwhile crop.

 

Cherries were always at risk of splitting when rain fell during harvest time, birds which were discouraged by minders wandering through the cherry orchard with shot guns in days gone by, were gradually replaced by 'bird netting'

 

25 years ago, forward thinking growers erected 'bird nets and plastic covers' over their Colt grown cherries, but not until the emergence of 'dwarfing Gisella rootstocks' which didn't require the level of winter chill and by their nature much more precocious cropping, did the modern cherry industry really take off!

 

See full article

 

17/07/2020
Beautiful Blueberries

 

This week The English Apple Man joined fellow members of East Kent Fruit Society for a ZOOM visit to WB Chambers and a SOFT FRUIT VIRTUAL VISIT AT BELKS FARM, OTHAM.

 

Tim Chambers is the third generation of a family business that started in 1952 and has been head of an ever expanding fruit business since 1990. Under Tim's leadership, WB Chambers has become a large supplier of Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Blueberries and Cherries to leading UK Supermarkets.

 

In 2019 WB Chambers opened a state of the art prepared fruit packing unit called the Fruitery a £2,000,000

investment.

 

Chambers grow an extensive range of berries, currants and stone fruit and is especially recognized as market leaders in the year-round supply of quality raspberries and blackberries. The company is also a leading player in the supply of blackcurrants, redcurrants, cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries and rhubarb.

 

Click on WB Chambers for an in depth look at their business.

 

See full article

 

10/07/2020
Wimbledon and Strawberries & Cream

 

We are now in Wimbledon Fortnight!

 

No Tennis but plenty of re-runs of past great matches on BBC TV.

 

Wimbledon and Strawberries are synonymous during the All England Championships.

 

Strawberries have been a part of ancient Europe since time immemorial, as they were mostly consumed to help with labour pains and help prevent bad breath.

 

Legend has it that Thomas Wolsey first served the combination of strawberries and cream back in 1509 in a banquet.

 

Cream was a part of the diet of the peasants, not the aristocrats, and strawberries and cream can be seen as amalgamation that brought together the rich and the poor.

 

For the last 27 years, Wimbledon strawberries have been 'exclusively' supplied by Marion Regan and Hugh Lowe Farms.

 

See full article

 

03/07/2020
It's July so what's going on in our orchards?

 

This summers has delivered a mix of hot dry periods and some rainfall. Some of the rainfall has been accompanied by hail which has caused serious damage on some farms/areas. Although blossom time was generally dry and sunny, there were occasional frosts in some areas.

 

 

This week The English Apple Man attempts to update the state of our home grown orchards with the help of his friendly agronomists.

 

See full article

 

26/06/2020
Coping with the very hot weather?

 

The weather these last few days has been very warm and The English Apple Man has been feeling it. Taking a step outside into our garden after lunch it has felt like an oven!

 

Ensuring our garden plants have enough water means spending half an hour before supper watering the most needy plants, in particular the hanging baskets which dry out so quickly and if not looked after never full recover.

 

So when deciding what to write about this week, my thoughts turned to our British growers and the apple and pear orchards suffering in this heat.

 

What triggered me targeting 'irrigation technology' as the subject of this week's Journal?

 

While checking LINKEDIN for stories of interest earlier this week I came across Antony Yousefian Ag-Tech Director of BARDSLEY ENGLAND talking about Phytech technology in operation in their apple orchards.

 

 

See full article

 

19/06/2020
Magic Star apples and English cherries

 

Magic Star apples and new season English cherries feature in this week's Journal.

 

 

 

See full article

 

12/06/2020
Remembering a fellow fruit grower and a friend

 

From time to time we all lose friends, an increasingly familiar event for those of us in our dotage.

 

Last week we lost Clive Edmed who has been growing fruit and hops for many years at Hayle Farm, Horsmonden.

 

Hayle Farm is situated in a tranquil valley in the Weald of Kent between the small village of Horsmonden and the Sussex border. The area is known as "The Garden of England" and is designated an "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty"

 

Clive Edmed has farmed here for over 39 years and in the last 25 years has been joined by his son, Richard, making at least 5 generations of hop growers.

 

 

 

See full article

 

05/06/2020
Taking an Orchard Walk

 

This week The English Apple Man took a walk in some apple orchards for the first time since before the Coronavirus lockdown.

 

I am very grateful to my Agronomist friends who have been sending me pictures and information over the last few weeks. I will still be drawing on their technical knowledge in future weeks, but it was nice to get in an orchard myself again!

 

See full article

 

29/05/2020
Tracing issues are in the news!

 

With tracing apps in the news, The English Apple Man investigates a new App designed to assist fruit growers manage orchard management and improve product profitability.

 

 

BIFGA TECHNICAL DAY - THURSDAY 23rd JANUARY 2020

 

Over 90 people attended the highly successful 32nd BIFGA Technical Day, held on Thursday 23rd January 2020, at Dale Hill Conference Centre, and there I met Kaye Hope of FARMABLE.

 

 

Hey! I'm Kaye, the Commercial Lead for Farmable. I spend most of my time talking with growers to better understand how they use technology today and what their needs are for better software in the future. As a Canadian living in Norway, I love speaking with farms from around the world and finding the common threads - it's incredible how similar we are despite the distances that separate us.

 

Kaye Hope reviews the rapid development of FARMABLE over the last few months.

 

"This is our first season with the Farmable app in the UK and we have had 35 British farms register and start using Farmable over the past couple months. 8 of these 35 are committed pilot farms who we have regular contact with to get product feedback, but we are happy to grow this number. The most important work we do as a software team is to work closely with growers and agronomists to check and double check that we are building something user-friendly and valuable to their daily work".

 

The most important work we do as a software team is to work closely with growers and agronomists to check and double check that we are building something user-friendly and valuable to their daily work".

 

 

See full article

 

22/05/2020
Prospects for this season's Apple & Pear crops

 

It is at this time of the year when growers and agronomists are assessing the potential fruit set and prospects for this season's apple and pear crops.

 

In 'days gone by' when trees were much larger and the fruitlets were hidden by leaves, the wise old sages would proclaim: "best go away and come back after Derby Day" - it was amazing how trees which appeared to carry very few fruitlets, changed and by early June (Derby Day) many a grower would say "where did they all come from?

 

In today's orchards where trees are small and fruitlets are almost ALL visible soon after blossom develops into tiny fruits, assessment is much easier. Of course it does not necessarily turn into a full crop - previous weather events may influence a heavier than natural 'drop' (we always called this the June Drop) but it is usually late June/ early July before the natural thinning takes place.

 

So growers and agronomists must decide the action required to enhance the final crop yield and quality!

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

15/05/2020
A Virtual World, a sign of the times and Jack Frost has been about!

 

Who would have thought this time last year that we would be living in a virtual world?

 

Facetime, What's app, Zoom, etc.

 

Last year and every year before, going back many years, The British Independent Fruit Growers Association (BIFGA) have held a Spring Farm Walk. This year COVID -19 put a stop to that!

 

But BIFGA Chairman (and founder) John Breach suggested to his committee a 'Virtual Farm Walk'

 

See full article

 

08/05/2020
Looking back with pride and looking forward with hope!

 

Last week we had a bout of Nostalgia - this week we will look ahead to the changes in Fresh Produce supply in the wake of COVID - 19.

 

But first let us remember the 75th Anniversary of the end of the last 'major' challenge faced by our Nation.

 

 

 

 

 

Today is VE Day - the anniversary of the 'official end' to World War 2 in Europe, when the defeat by the allied armies saw the surrender of Nazi Germany on 8th May 1945.

 

See full article

 

01/05/2020
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing!

 

In these difficult times, and with time on our hands in 'lockdown' looking back over the life we have led, especially for us 'senior citizens' brings many nostalgic times to the forefront our minds.

 

Below: Dan The Apple Man

 

NOSTALGIA

 

Throughout my life, I have been very lucky to meet and get to know many of the great characters of our fruit industry and by coincidence last week I stumbled on a 'Linkedin' post by one of those characters.

 

So today I reminisce back to the days of my youth, when life was simpler and Coronavirus was just an idea in a science fiction writer's head!!!!

 

See full article

 

24/04/2020
Blossom has been early this year

 

The COVID-19 Pandemic dominates our lives and anything else seems trivial in the face of the challenge faced by us all and particularly for those families who have lost loved ones in the most tragic circumstances

 

In our orchards and gardens, the many species in blossom is of some comfort for those of us in lockdown.

 

Below: left; Cox apples in full bloom on 22nd April in Herefordshire and right; Bladon Pippin in the EAM's Garden today 24th April

 

 

Over the last 50 years, the average blossom time has progressively come earlier and earlier. The blossom time varies from year to year, sometimes very early and sometimes not so early, but over time the average blossom time has advanced by circa 14 days.

 

 

 

See full article

 

17/04/2020
What to write about this week?

 

Finding the right subject to write about is difficult, the world we are living in is a surreal one and previous everyday subjects pale in significance as the desperate battle for lives continues in hospitals and care homes across the nation.

 

With many fruiting and ornamental trees in blossom, The English Apple Man shares pictures sent in by Agronomists 'crop walking' in our grower's orchards and a few selected from my own garden.

 

 

 

See full article

 

10/04/2020
In these demanding days, it is nice to see the sunshine as blossom takes centre stage

 

This last few days have been devastating for so many families as loved ones fight this evil Pandemic.

 

We can only follow scientific advice and hope this will eventually get us over the current 'very scary' situation.

 

A small comfort has been the beautiful sunshine of late, however that is a blessing for those of us with a garden but of not much solace to those trapped in a flat.

 

The Sunshine has brought the bees out, here pollinating pear blossom.

 

See full article

 

03/04/2020
Another week, and what a week!

 

Each day brings an escalation of sad news as the COVID-19 virus takes an increasing hold on our Nation. Every fatal statistic is heartbreaking for families and those in close relationship with a loved one. As a couple of 'old fogies,' my wife and I stick to the rules of self-isolation, but the mental tension is one of the hardest emotions to keep under control!

 

To all EAM readers STAY SAFE

 

During the coronavirus crisis, many people will sadly be out of work. In last week's Journal, we identified BARDSLEY ENGLAND as an opportunity for employment in the West Kent area. In conversation with Ben Bardsley today, he is delighted with the response. At this moment in time, Bardsley has no vacancies. but as the season develops more vacancies should become available.

 

We also identified ANGUS GROWERS

 

One of the jobs opportunity websites is: BRITISH SUMMER FRUITS Once opened, click on the location map to view individual grower details.

 

See full article

 

27/03/2020
The English Apple Man contemplates this crazy time we are living in.

 

This is a time of unprecedented anxiety for our nation, and many more throughout the world. One only has to look at twitter and LinkedIn to understand the plethora of opinions - many very positive and sadly some very negative!

 

As a pair of old fogies, my wife and I have been the recipients of offers of help: shopping etc. and this kindness to neighbours is a countrywide demonstration of all the good and caring members of society!

 

Sadly some through selfishness and/or ignorance have performed stupid and in some cases disgusting acts against the very people trying their best to help them. One story of six ambulances in East Kent, where some idiot drilled holes in the tyres, beggars belief.

 

Joining our neighbours clapping our wonderful and brave NHS workers last night, demonstrated the appreciation felt my most of the population for their sterling effort on our behalf.

 

 

See full article

 

20/03/2020
We are all living in a very uncertain world!

 

At this time of the year, The English Apple Man would normally be concentrating on the development of the new apple and pear season!

 

At this moment in time, the season is circa 10-12 days earlier than the long term average. Talking to a grower friend today he started spraying for apple scab 10 days earlier than last year.

 

However, with Coronavirus dominating our minds and every day bringing a greater level of anxiety, I have found it difficult to think about anything else!

 

Just two weeks ago I was at an Awards Dinner mixing with friends, with no real concern for what would become an exponential upward curve towards the most challenging period in our lives since World War 2.

 

See full article

 

13/03/2020
Extract from AHDB Tree Fruit Day + more news

 

The AHDB Tree fruit day held at NIAB/EMR on Thursday 27th February covered many subjects but fighting Bacterial Canker in Cherries in particular resonated with The English Apple Man.

 

The possibility of bacteriophages as a means of combatting canker is the latest area of research by NIAB/EMR scientists working on AHDB projects.

 

The British top fruit (Apples & Pears) season still has some months to go, but 'down under' New Season New Zealand apples are on their way"

 

See full article

 

06/03/2020
It's all about taste this week!

 

The English Apple Man attended the Taste of Kent Awards on Thursday and today Friday with Marden Fruit Show colleagues, spent the morning tasting and judging apple, pear and other juices for the annual Fruit Juice Competition.

 

It's funny how things work out, but we spent last weekend in Wiltshire celebrating my brother's birthday and on Tuesday visited good friends for lunch, which featured the hostess's fabulous Pavlova.

 

Below: Tracy (right) and her assistant Lisa preparing our weekend of culinary delights!

 

 

See full article

 

28/02/2020
Tree Fruit Day, migrant workers and taste of summer

 

On Thursday, The AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) held their Annual 'Tree Fruit Day' at NIAB/EMR.

 

This event is always a very educational occasion, as research scientists update the attendees on AHDB projects.

 

The English Apple Man will feature The Tree Fruit Day in next week's Journal on 6th March.

 

This VIMEO highlights the importance of seasonal workers for the future of British grown produce.

 

See full article

 

21/02/2020
The English Apple Man investigates critical nutrients

 

It matters not what we grow, delivering critical nutrients is essential for maximising performance.

 

At the BIFGA Technical Day, John Keyte from YARA identified critical elements in nutrients for growing apples.

 

 

See full article

 

14/02/2020
An insight into what new Agriculture Bill has to offer

 

The UK government has introduced new legislation which ensures that farming subsidies will continue to be paid to UK farmers for 2020.

 

The 9th January saw the governments first step to 'provide continuity for farmers and ensure subsidies are paid this year', post-Brexit, by putting forward the Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) (DPLC) Bill.

 

This confirms that farmers should expect to receive similar levels of funding for direct payments in 2020 as what was received for 2019. The Bill for 2020's direct payments at least provides some financial and legislative certainty for the next year.

 

With the new Agriculture, Bill understood to move away from 'direct payments' in favour of environmental measures perceived as 'public goods'.

 

This legislation holds a funding package of £2.852 billion for 2020, which will be administered by governments across the UK and is to be implemented in time for our withdrawal from the EU.

 

See full article

 

07/02/2020
Canker - the number 1 challenge for apple growers

 

At the BIFGA Technical Day in January, Dr. Lucas Shuttleworth from NIAB/EMR presented an update on Canker research.

 

Below: Dr. Lucas Shuttleworth and right: a severe canker infection/wound and Spores

 

 

See full article

 

31/01/2020
BIFGA, Brexit and more besides

 

Today we officially leave the EU and some will celebrate while others are aghast at the prospect. There is still a long way to go and this year 'Boris and his band' must achieve so much to bring the Leave/Remain factions back into a united Great Britain!

 

BIFGA

 

 

This week The English Apple Man covers one of the presentations at this year's BIFGA Technical Day. More presentations will be covered in the coming weeks!

 

 

See full article

 

24/01/2020
A busy and eventful week for The English Apple Man

 

What a week!

 

Hospital visits!

 

The 2020 East Kent Fruit Society AGM Dinner and Orchard Competition Trophy Presentations, held at Boughton Golf Club (near Faversham )

 

The 2020 BIFGA Technical Day held at Dale Hill Golf Club & Hotel

 

 

 

See full article

 

17/01/2020
It's mid January already

 

What does The English Apple Man have on his mind?

 

See full article

 

10/01/2020
At this time of the year, 'motivation' can be hard to come by!

 

With the weather, primarily dull and dreary, days still short of daylight hours, do you find it hard to engender enthusiasm?

 

See full article

 

03/01/2020
Happy New Year

 

As a New Year and a New Decade begin, The English Apple Man looks forward to the coming year.

 

See full article

 

27/12/2019
Looking back over 2019

 

As we draw to the end of 2019 and 2020 beckons, The English Apple Man looks back at some of the highlights of the past year.

 

One of the most memorable events this year was the recognition of my dear friend Roger Worraker when he received the Presidents Award on his 90th Birthday at the Marden Fruit Show AGM from MFS President Michael Jack.

 

Below: Michael Jack, Roger Worraker & MFS Chair Sarah Calcutt

 

 

Click on Roger Worraker People Profile to read the story of Roger's life story!

 

See full article

 

20/12/2019
Crisps for Christmas

 

With five days to go, we are busy stocking up with Christmas goodies

 

As Christmas approaches there will be the prospect of temptation to eat many tasty, but not necessarily healthy foods. Crisps and snacks loaded with salt and sugar at the top of the temptation list!

 

BUT thanks to a truly inspirational entrepreneur a fantastic selection of healthy and tasty crisps bring the opportunity to satisfy the taste buds without consuming salt & fat.

 

 

See full article

 

13/12/2019
Election Special

 

Today Friday 13th December is Lucky for some and Unlucky for others!

 

 

Many will be surprised by the level of swing away from the Labour party; The Conservative Government are in a strong Parliamentary position, but MUST follow up the faith of (former) traditional Labour constituencies by delivering support for their dreams of a better life!

 

Mr Johnson later told jubilant aides in Conservative HQ: "We must understand now what an earthquake we have created.

 

"The way in which we have changed the political map of this country.

 

"We have to grapple with the consequences of that, we have to change our own party, we have to rise to the level of events, we must, we must answer the challenge that the British people have given us."

 

See full article

 

06/12/2019
News from USA Growers

 

In last week's Journal The English Apple Man relayed news form 'down under' and this week we take a look at some interesting news from apple growers in USA.

 

See full article

 

29/11/2019
It's been a funny old week!

 

The English Apple Man's thought pattern has been deflected this last 10 days by 'investigative' hospital visits.

 

This week's Journal will be a bit 'off track'

 

See full article

 

22/11/2019
What's on our Supermarket shelves

 

As November draws to an end, The English Apple Man visits Supermarkets to see what apples & pears are on offer!

 

This week visits to ASDA, TESCO, SAINSBURYS and JEMPSON'S OF PEASMARSH.

 

See full article

 

15/11/2019
Is BIG beautiful and can little survive?

 

The seemingly inevitable drive towards bigger businesses via amalgamation, take-overs or sometimes organic growth is not confined to manufacturing or service industries.

 

This week The English Apple Man compares rationalisation in the USA and UK apple industries. Also is there a lasting place for the small volume producer.

 

See full article

 

08/11/2019
NextGen Fruit Group visit two leading soft fruit businesses

 

Sorry to my readers who sign in on a Saturday morning! A rather long Journal this week covering a fantastic event for my young friends - The NextGen Fruit Group at which The English Apple Man was privileged to attend.

 

For more than 50 years, The Under40's Fruit Group has brought young people in the British fruit industry together on a biennial basis for a Conference with the objective of building new friendships, learning new growing and management techniques: until 2015 these Conferences were held in various countries, but always in the Northern Hemisphere.

 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, The 2017 Under 40's committee led by Chairman Charlie Dunn 'broke the mould' and organised the first Conference in the Southern Hemisphere in South Africa.

 

In 2019 the committee led by Chair Emily Cliff set off for Chile and when the 2021 committee took over the reins, a desire to take the U40's format onto a new level was born!

 

 

 

See full article

 

01/11/2019
2019 National Fruit Show

 

The 2109 National Fruit Show was held at The Kent Event Centre on Wednesday 23rd October. This the 86th anniversary event.

 

The Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) is a Registered Charity run by a voluntary committee who represent many different facets of the fruit industry. The aim of the Society is to promote the better growing, grading and marketing of fruit.

 

The Society organises the National Fruit Show, which acts as a meeting place for the industry. The centrepiece of the show, held each October, is the largest competitive display of commercially grown top and soft fruit staged in the UK.

 

See full article

 

25/10/2019
What a very busy week for The English Apple Man

 

This week The 86th National Fruit Show (NFS) took place at the Kent Event Centre.

 

The English Apple Man was involved on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday!

 

On Tuesday morning Judging the NFS 2019 show fruit with fellow judges.

 

On Tuesday afternoon a visit to Friday Street Farm in Kent to take pictures of Magic Star apples at point of harvesting.

 

On Wednesday morning the EAM was a Judge in the NFS tastiest apple competition.

 

On Thursday morning the EAM was a judge in the Taste of Kent Apple & Pear competitions.

 

On Friday The NextGen Fruit Group invited delegates to two major soft fruit growing and packing businesses.

 

On Friday evening (as I write) The English Apple Man is feeling very tired - hence the Journal this week is light on written content!

- the

All elements will be featured in EAM Journals in the next few weeks!

 

See full article

 

18/10/2019
Investigating new orchard systems

 

Today: Friday 18th October The English Apple Man met Vikram Singh Thakur (a friend) and Rob Saunders from Hutchinson's of Wisbech to view an experimental tree management system trials named HELIOS

 

See full article

 

11/10/2019
What's going on Globally?

 

Each country producing apples & pears can easily become 'blinkered' about the problems facing profitability, if we become less insular and look further afield we find fruit growers face pretty much the same set of challenges globally!

 

See full article

 

04/10/2019
October brings the later maturing apples

 

In the space of a month we have seen harvesting of Zari, Red Windsor, Estivale, Worcester Pearmain, Cox, Spartan, Egremont Russet, Gala, Rubens, et al.

 

Cameo, Braeburn and Jazz are next in line.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

27/09/2019
A little bit of Nostalgia

 

Last Saturday The English Apple Man visited Horsmonden Social Club where Horsmonden Nostalgia Group presented a display of nostalgia featuring farming and associated activities in the Parish of Horsmonden in Kent.

 

Nostalgia increases with age, so I am perfectly placed to suffer from bouts of extreme nostalgia.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

20/09/2019
September in the countryside

 

September is the traditional time for Ploughing Matches which take place across the country. In the South East of England The Weald of Kent & East Kent ploughing societies are well established and well attended.

 

Click on Weald of Kent Ploughing Match 2019 for an in depth look!

 

See full article

 

13/09/2019
It's all go, go, go

 

The 2019 apple & pear harvest is now 'full on' and this week British Apples & Pears launched a new 'White Paper' setting out the future of our 'home grown' top fruit.

 

Foreword by: Executive Chair - Ali Capper

 

Apples are brilliant. They are convenient to eat, portable, snackable and brimming with health benefits. They meet every need of today's consumers and we at British Apples & Pears are getting much better at telling our story. Our overarching Great British Apples campaign, with the clear 'An Apple A Day' message, has cut through and is here for the long-term.

 

They are ambitious and forward looking, increasing productivity levels and sharing the challenging target of increasing market share of British apples to 60% by 2030. To put that in context, we are at 42% now and up from 23% in 2003. In addition, over the last 10 years the British pear market share has grown in volume by 27%.

 

 

See full article

 

06/09/2019
September mornings bring on nostalgia

 

September morn

 

 

September morn

 

We danced until the night became a brand new day

 

Two lovers playing scenes from some romantic play

 

September morning still can make me feel that way

 

Thanks to Neil Diamond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

30/08/2019
Great British Apple season harvesting update

 

It's all happening. Bramley cooking apples for fresh market have been going for a couple of weeks and now Bramley is being picked for long term storage.

 

Some early picking of Conference pears has started and data supports harvest for long term storage next week.

 

Discovery has been harvested and the first Red Windsor are ready to occupy Supermarket shelves.

 

See full article

 

23/08/2019
New season activities

 

This is the time of the year when fruit maturity (ripening) sets off on an exponential curve!

 

From the first Discovery it is only a matter of time before a succession of varieties come on line!

 

Below: Rosette Discovery grown by AC Goatham

 

 

Visit Kent On-Line to view AC Goatham & Son start to the new season.

 

See full article

 

16/08/2019
The English Apple Man celebrates 10 years on-line

 

This week was the 10th Anniversary of The English Apple Man website.

 

The first English Apple Man Journal went on-line on 14th August 2009

 

Click on The English Apple Man Journal for 14th August 2009

 

See full article

 

09/08/2019
It's a kinda Magic

 

This week The English Apple Man joined a small group of growers on a two day visit to Belgium and Holland to look at the variety Magic Star®

 

The appeal of Magic Star is it's ability to store well and deliver great flavour and texture even after one year in store. For British apple growers the possibility of supplying Magic Star after the traditional Gala and Braeburn extending the 'home grown' season beyond the traditional April/May through June & July until the new season starts again in August/September.

 

To date several Avalon growers have planted Magic Star and plans are in place to add more over the next few years. The oldest are now in the 4th leaf and modest volumes have ben marketed in Tesco stores. Expect a rapid increase in volume over the next few years.

 

After an early start, we departed Folkstone on the 8.40am 'shuttle' arriving at our first visit in Belgium by late morning.

 

See full article

 

02/08/2019
We are on the threshold of a new British Apple season

 

While the last of 2018 home grown apples are still available (Royal Gala) the 2019 season is very close!

 

The Discovery on my 'family apple tree' are nearly ready to eat, so I expect early sites to be in advance of mine.

 

Picking for the wholesale market on an early site in Kent started yesterday and will no doubt be followed by others next week.

 

See full article

 

26/07/2019
Viti-Culture show

 

On the 11th July, The English Apple Man ventured an hour's drive to Plumpton College near Lewes in East Sussex where the very first Viti-Culture Event took place.

 

 

Viti-Culture is the result of not just a vision, hard work and good planning but also teamwork. Organisers Grape-Vine Events, together with media partner Vineyard Magazine have created a formidable team that has put together a show with all the answers. The only question is why no-one thought of it before! To our knowledge there is no other event in the UK that focuses purely on viticulture while providing a show-case event where growers can access advice, supplies, services and have networking together in one place!

 

 

See full article

 

19/07/2019
Fruit Focus

 

This Wednesday The English Apple Man visited Fruit Focus at NIAB/EMR

 

Attracting an increasing number of visitors year on year, Fruit Focus brings together more than 2000 growers and industry professionals. Over 130 leading suppliers exhibit at Fruit Focus. It showcases all aspects of agronomy, machinery and equipment, business information, pre- and post-harvest technology, and marketing.

 

Fruit Focus provides a unique opportunity to update on the latest technologies and industry developments, exchange views and network with fellow producers. As well as soft and orchard fruit, vines also feature at Fruit Focus.

 

See full article

 

12/07/2019
Cherries!

 

We are now well into the British Cherry season and can look forward to enjoying the finest cherries we will get to eat at any time during the Year for another month 'or so'

 

East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) visit Norton Farm Cherries on Tuesday 9th July,

 

Below: Oh so tasty 'Home Grown Cherries'

 

 

See full article

 

05/07/2019
The English Apple Man attends 31st BIFGA AGM

 

The opportunity to visit growers at this time of the year is always an enjoyable experience.

 

On Tuesday 2nd July BIFGA held their 31st AGM at Castlewood Farm at Teynham in East Kent.

 

See full article

 

28/06/2019
Environmental conundrums

 

Protecting our Environment is a global issue, but how we manage the dangers and defy the 'point of no return' is the subject of many passionate arguments.

 

Carbon neutral by 2050?

 

Not nearly soon enough say many; 'particularly young activists' but how do we go about arresting the journey to environmental oblivion?

 

The real problem is the success of 'homo sapiens' - the exponential rise in global population is surely the single most influence on 'where we are today'

 

Simply: there are too many people on this planet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

21/06/2019
Biddenden Vineyards celebrate 50 years as a commercial vineyard

 

Biddenden Vineyard was the first commercial vineyard in Kent in 1969.

 

 

Originally home to a 40 acre apple orchard, the Barnes family started to consider diversifying the farm in the late 1960s as apple prices began to decline. After listening to a feature on the BBC's Woman's Hour programme about English vineyards being replanted, Mrs. Barnes was inspired to turn to viticulture.

 

 

See full article

 

14/06/2019
Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackberries!

 

Soft fruit development has changed dramatically over the years; no longer grown in the soil, modern strawberry, raspberry & blackberry production relies on 'sustainable' coir (Coconut fibre) as a medium in which the plants grow.

 

Strawberries are either grown in coir growbags or on some cases pots. Raspberries and Blackberries are increasingly grown in pots.

 

The use of pots & substrate allows flexibility to production processes enabling establishment of blackberries/raspberries in a holding area before placement in tunnels for growing & harvesting. The ability to remove and replace with new pots/plants maximises the production modules (tunnels).

 

This week the East Kent Fruit Society held their annual Soft Fruit Walk at Clockhouse Farm at Coxheath on the outskirts of Maidstone in Kent.

 

 

 

See full article

 

07/06/2019
The English Apple Man is on holiday in The Cotswolds

 

This summer we are having a week in The Cotswolds in a Holiday Cottage with our Working Cocker Spaniel - Poppy instead of the annual trip to Malta.

 

My wife just fancied a quiet week with Poppy relaxing and without the harassment of airports, hiring cars etc in what has become one of the most highly populated countries in Europe.

 

See full article

 

31/05/2019
The English Apple Man vists a Community Orchard in Tunbridge Wells

 

Regular readers of the English Apple Man will be aware of my interest in community orchards; specifically following the Capel Diamond Jubilee Community Orchard from it's planting in 2012 until today.

 

'Friends of Grosvenor & Hilbert' visited the Capel orchard in the Autumn of 2013 as part of a learning curve before embarking on the 'Grosvenor & Hilbert' community orchard.

 

 

 

See full article

 

24/05/2019
Home Grown Royal Gala season extended into August

 

Royal Gala is our number one variety; 27% of all apples sold in British Supermarkets are Gala, either grown in GB or imported, we now grow in excess of 60,000 tonnes of home grown Gala.

 

 

 

What if we could extend our season into the summer months previously supplied by imported Gala?

 

See full article

 

17/05/2019
It's mid May and English apples are still available in UK Supermarkets

 

As we assess the potential fruit set for the 2019/20 season, our Supermarkets still have good displays of apples; Braeburn, Gala, and smaller volumes of Jazz, Crimson Crisp and Envy; with of course our celebrated, Bramley culinary apple. Plus home grown Conference pears.

 

See full article

 

10/05/2019
Living land and BIFGA Spring Farm Walk

 

The English Apple Man has been busy with visits to Living Land at The Kent Event Centre and BIFGA's Annual Spring Farm Walk.

 

See full article

 

03/05/2019
Walking orchards in East Kent

 

Following last week's walk around Bardsley Farms Blue House Farm at Marden where the apple blossom was at its peak, The English Apple Man joined fellow members of East Kent Fruit Society for a blossom walk at Simon Mount's New Barn Farm at East Stourmouth near Canterbury in East Kent

 

See full article

 

26/04/2019
Blooming marvellous Blossom and a Presidents Award

 

As blossom burst forth over Easter, with blooms opening in front of the eyes, bees and other pollinating insects were working hard on every tree.

 

On Wednesday, The Marden Fruit Show Society held their AGM at the very new Marden Hockey Club.

 

A very special event took place after the AGM when MFS President the Right Hon. Michael Jack presented a stalwart of our top fruit industry Roger Worraker with The Presidents Award.

 

Roger Worraker's story is the latest subject of The English Apple Man's People Profiles which went live on line on Wednesday 24th April. Click on Roger Worraker - People Profile for a link to Roger's story.

 

 

 

See full article

 

19/04/2019
Easter

 

It's Easter and the sun is shining, temperatures are circa 20-25 centigrade and the blossom advances by the hour: the Bees are loving it and today observed hard at work collecting nectar while pollinating the apple blossom they alighted upon!

 

 

See full article

 

12/04/2019
Looking for home grown apples and pears?

 

As we approach mid-April, The English Apple Man takes a look at what home grown apples and pears are still available to consumers.

 

See full article

 

05/04/2019
April can make fools of all of us!

 

As we enter April, apart from April Fools Day the apple & pear fruit bud development is 'poised' to move from Green Cluster/Early Pink Bud (apples) and White Bud )pears) to blossom as soon as the weather returns to 15-20 Celsius.

 

Below: Green Cluster and early Pink Bud on apples.

 

 

See full article

 

29/03/2019
Robot apple picking and other news!

 

This week The English Apple Man looks at 'what's new?

 

The first commercial robot apple picker in operation.

 

Promotion for an award winning Production Manager.

 

Agrovista 'Sponsors' report on Under 40's in Chile.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

22/03/2019
Are we up a Gum Tree?

 

With Brexit spiralling into a complete mess, it is difficult for those of us who do not fully understand the complexities of a soft Brexit (whatever that means) and a hard Brexit (feared by many - but not by those desperate to leap into the apparent unknown,) I like many get more confused each day (no sorry, each hour of each day).

 

"Up a Gum Tree" The phrase originated as 'like a possum up a gum tree' and interpretations of this account for the variety of meaning. The allusion is to possums escaping up trees after being chased by hounds.

 

 

 

See full article

 

15/03/2019
The English Apple Man in a Community Orchard

 

The English Apple Man joined members of the Capel Parish last Saturday, as they set about pruning their Community orchard, under the guidance of Roger Worraker.

 

See full article

 

08/03/2019
Life is a series of mysteries

 

Do you ever wonder about the mysteries of life?

 

Virus's and Bacteria are embedded in the fabric of life.

 

Viruses are the smallest and simplest life form known.

 

The biggest difference between viruses and bacteria is that viruses must have a living host!

 

Antibiotics cannot kill viruses, but can kill most bacteria.

 

Bacterial Canker the scourge of many 'tree fruit' trees may be challenged by the use of 'phages'

 

Bacteriophage, phage(noun) a virus that is parasitic (reproduces itself) in bacteria. "phage uses the bacterium's machinery and energy to produce more phage until the bacterium is destroyed and phage is released to invade surrounding bacteria".

 

See full article

 

01/03/2019
Time Marches on!

 

March is here; its the first day of Spring!

 

See full article

 

22/02/2019
Haygrove Evolution - John Breach and U40's Conference

 

This week's Journal features Haygrove Evolution a wine & cider business: John Breach honoured by The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and news of the Under 40's return from their visit to Chile.

 

Haygrove Evolution is; as the name suggests, an evolving business: Haygrove Evolution was established in 2015.

 

Combining operations from Vine & Wine, Once Upon A Tree and integrating with local business Haygrove Ltd, Haygrove Evolution is producing Wine & Cider under the Sixteen Ridges and Once Upon A Tree Brands and offering contract processing for other growers.

 

 

See full article

 

15/02/2019
Rural Policing

 

Rural Policing: At the 31st BIFGA Technical Day held at Dale Hill Golf Club on 30th January 2019, one of the presentations was made by Sergeant Darren Walshaw & PC Marc Pennicott from the Kent Police - Rural Liaison Team (RLT). The operational area is divided into three: North Division - East Division and West Division.

 

While there are many important areas of Policing carried out by the Rural Liaison Team, this week's Journal will cover just a few in depth.

 

 

 

See full article

 

08/02/2019
Maximising Fruit Set and Quality

 

At the recent AGROVISTA Technical Seminar, the opening presentation 'Maximising Fruit Set and Quality' delivered by Leon Jahae reviewed the broad spectrum of essential elements involved in delivering quality apples.

 

See full article

 

01/02/2019
A busy week for Technical Conferences

 

This week The English Apple Man attended two Technical Conferences: On Tuesday the AGROVISTA Technical day and on Wednesday the BIFGA Technical Day.

 

See full article

 

25/01/2019
Celebrating succesfull orchards

 

On Tuesday, The English Apple Man joined fellow members of the East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) for the society AGM, Orchard Competition Prizegiving and Dinner.

 

See full article

 

18/01/2019
The English Apple Man

 

This week The English Apple Man highlights an Irish Apple grower in Tipperary + an update on harvest worker availability.

 

See full article

 

11/01/2019
The English Apple Man takes a look at news from New Zealand

 

With Brexit dominating our news, our fruit growers continue to worry about where the harvest workers will come from for 2019 and beyond.

 

See full article

 

04/01/2019
The English Apple Man looks forward to a New Year

 

As we settle into 2019, what will our New Year's Resolutions be and will we manage to observe any across 2019?

 

The debacle of Brexit will no doubt continue to dominate the media!

 

 

 

 

IF- we leave the EU without a deal, what are the prospects for our fruit-growers?

 

 

 

See full article

 

28/12/2018
Looking back on 2018

 

Another year passes and it will soon by 2019!

 

See full article

 

21/12/2018
Happy Christmas

 

Just four more 'sleeps' to Christmas Day!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

See full article

 

14/12/2018
What British Apple & Pear varieties are available in Supermarkets

 

As we approach the last full week of trading before the Christmas week begins, The English Apple Man has taken a 'whistle stop tour' of UK Supermarkets to see how many different varieties are on display in each of the UK retailers.

 

See full article

 

07/12/2018
Less than three weeks to Christmas

 

Once December arrives, Christmas is upon us before we know it!

 

30 years ago in early December when The English Apple Man was still growing apples, we would be busy packing apples for Sainsburys and Tesco; in the packhouse Christmas music adding to the festive atmosphere. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl singing "Fairytale of New York" released in 1987 was one of our all time favourites!

 

Now apple packing is a much more mechanised affair with computer aided quality selection and robotic stacking of packed crates commonplace. Much more efficient, but not as much fun!

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

30/11/2018
This week, more 'variety' from Interpoma

 

Last week the Journal centred on machinery and in particular picking rigs and platforms.

 

See full article

 

23/11/2018
What's on show at Interpoma

 

Touring the Interpoma Trade Show last week, The English Apple Man was keen to identify new 'innovations' for our apple industry.

 

 

See full article

 

16/11/2018
The English Apple Man has been in Bolzano

 

After arriving back in 'Blighty' after two weeks in Malta on Monday, The English Apple Man set off on Wednesday for The Interpoma Trade Show in Bolzano in the South Tyrol with a group of grower friends organised by FAST.

 

See full article

 

09/11/2018
The Engish Apple Man spends a last few days in Malta

 

As our holiday in Malta nears it's end, The EAM reflects on more elements of The National Fruit Show.

 

See full article

 

02/11/2018
The EAM is in Malta

 

The English Apple Man is now in Malta enjoying a break with Mrs Apple Man and our daughter.

 

 

See full article

 

26/10/2018
Celebrating the 85th Anniversary of The National Fruit Show

 

This week the Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) held the 85th Anniversary National Fruit Show at The Kent Event Centre at Detling.

 

The Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) is a Registered Charity run by a voluntary committee who represent many different facets of the fruit industry. The aim of the Society is to promote the better growing, grading and marketing of fruit.

 

The Society organises the National Fruit Show, which acts as a meeting place for the industry. The centrepiece of the show, held each October, is the largest competitive display of commercially grown top and soft fruit staged in the UK.

 

 

In this week's Journal the emphasis is on the celebratory mood and in particular J.R. Breach celebrating their 50th Anniversary of attending the National Fruit Show. Over the next two weeks, I will report on the show more comprehensively and list all the trophy winners and cover many of the outstanding 'trade stands' which are integral to the success of this the 85th anniversary show.

 

 

See full article

 

19/10/2018
Apples in a Warmer World

 

What will the influence be on apple growing if our climate gets warmer?

 

See full article

 

12/10/2018
The English Apple Man visits Supermarkets

 

In last week's English Apple Man Journal the English Apples and Pears 2018 Season Launch of 'Great British Apples' highlighted the exceptional taste of home grown apples after the summer sun raised sugar levels above the average.

 

See full article

 

05/10/2018
Great British Apples

 

This week English Apples & Pears launched the 2018 season with a promotional event in London.

 

Great British Apples!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

See full article

 

28/09/2018
Next week is October!

 

As September draws to a close, what does October offer?

 

 

This weekend is The Malvern Autumn Show and my friends Nick Dunn and his Daughter Stephanie will be showing their products from FP Matthews and displaying 350 different fruits.

 

During October there will be many outstanding opportunities to visit Festivals celebrating our wonderful apples & pears.

 

 

See full article

 

21/09/2018
It's been an interesting week for The English Apple Man

 

As we enjoy a week in Wiltshire, this week's Journal will be a bit of a mixed bag!

 

See full article

 

14/09/2018
The English Apple Man's in Wiltshire

 

My wife and I + our dog, are currently enjoying a break in Wiltshire, looking after my brother & sister in law's home & dog while they spend a week on a yacht sailing up the coast of Croatia!

 

See full article

 

07/09/2018
Gala, Gala, Gala UK's number one apple!

 

Uk apple growers grow many delicious apples, but Gala is the number one in volume sales!

 

See full article

 

31/08/2018
Tomorrow is September

 

As we move from August into September the apple picking season really takes off!

 

See full article

 

24/08/2018
The English Apple Man visits Suffolk

 

It's a while since The EAM visited Jeremy Lindsell's Braisworth Orchards in Suffolk but my 3 hour drive from the Sussex coast was well worth it!

 

See full article

 

17/08/2018
What's next on the menu for UK grown top and stone fruit

 

The 2018 apple season is underway; albeit with limited supplies of early apples like Discovery. UK Plums are in the early stages of the season with Opal the first to be available on Supermarket shelves.

 

 

See full article

 

10/08/2018
Fruit Focus 2018

 

This week The English Apple Man has been in East Anglia visiting three fruit growers with quite different approaches to growing and marketing. Having arrived back home today at 4.15pm, this week's Journal will reflect on some of the areas of interest The EAM identified at the rcent Fruit Focus 2018.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

03/08/2018
The English Apple Man visits prize winning orchards

 

It's that time of the year when orchard competitions add interest to the summer as a precursor to the new season which is now only weeks away.

 

See full article

 

27/07/2018
This week has been hotter than ever with temperatures rising into + 30 degrees C

 

On Tuesday The English Apple Man joined circa 100 attendees at Fruit Science Live held at Brogdale Farm, sponsored by ICL with trial work carried out by FAST Technical personnel.

 

On Wednesday after an early start, The English Apple Man spent the day at Fruit Focus an annual event highlighting the latest developments in fruit and viticulture.

 

See full article

 

20/07/2018
After weeks with no rain, a welcome shower here on the Sussex Coast

 

As we move closer to August, the weather forecast does not promise any general rain, some sporadic thunderstorms, many of which will only produce flash flooding and fail to soak the soil in gardens and production areas. Today, here on the Sussex Coast a welcome few hours of 'gentle drizzle' cooled

 

The hot weather has influenced the ripening of soft fruit and cherries, potentially shortening the harvesting period of each variety. Lack of rain has made Cherry harvesting easier with no fears of splitting caused by rain, however the high temperatures may be responsible for a reduced crop.

 

See full article

 

13/07/2018
The World Cup dream is over! What's happening in our orchards?

 

This season is proving an uncertain one as far as crop forecasting goes, but it does seem to be a little clearer. In the Journal for 29th June I wrote: "After the frosts in 2017 which caused sporadic damage across the country, this season shows 'knock on' effects. Where the crop was light in 2017 'generally' a good crop predicted this season, and where heavy crops were prevalent in 2017, crop predictions are not quite as good.

 

However, the 'run off' (natural thinning caused by the tree adjusting to 'as yet' unknown influences - extreme cold and/or extreme heat at critical stages of flower development have been suggested) has been general. Growers pointed out some of the anomalies - Gala (naturally a good cropper) has been observed to have set 2-3 apples per bunch on the upper branches, while 1-2 on the lower branches.

 

The general consensus appears to be: "we are probably looking at a good crop this year, but NOT a bumper crop"

 

See full article

 

06/07/2018
Growing Cherries in Henry VIII's orchard

 

On Tuesday EKFS members gathered at Hempstead Farm for the annual Stone Fruit walk.

 

 

Hempstead Farm is situated on the site chosen by Henry VIII's Fruiterer, Richard Harris to grow the strawberries, cherries and other fruits loved by King Henry V111. At the heart of what is now recognised as The Garden of England.

 

See full article

 

29/06/2018
Fantastic weather

 

Temperatures this week have been as good as Mediterranean countries; in fact better than Brazil's Rio de Janeiro!

 

See full article

 

22/06/2018
The English Apple Man joins the Under 40's in Herefordshire

 

On Thursday my wife and I drove to my brother's home in Wiltshire. On Friday I was up early and on the road to Herefordshire joining my Under 40's friends as they held an 'interim' meeting before next year's U40 Conference.

 

See full article

 

15/06/2018
What a busy week it's been for The English Apple Man

 

On Tuesday evening East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) members enjoyed a soft fruit visit to John Myatt at Mockbeggar Farm on the Isle of Grain.

 

On Thursday we drove from East Sussex to Wiltshire; staying overnight before a two hour drive into Herefordshire to meet up with my young Under 40's friends on Friday morning.

 

 

APOLOGIES to my Early morning readers, but after a very busy day, I left the Journal unfinished last night (it's now Saturday morning)

 

Second APOLOGIES: I hurriedly placed Journal on line (I thought) on Saturday afternoon before driving to Canterbury for a Golden Wedding celebration, only to realise on our return this Sunday afternoon, that I had NOT ticked the 'Live box' - it is now 3.45pm on Sunday 17th June!

 

See full article

 

08/06/2018
Chapel Down Wines

 

There is little point in simply trying to be the best. Our passion comes from being the only people who can do what we do. It makes us stronger. We use it to judge absolutely everything. These are the words of Frazer Thompson CEO Chapel Down

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

01/06/2018
Reviewing a highly successful farm shop enterprise

 

Last week, The English Apple Man reviewed the rapidly changing structure of global food marketing. This week a look at a very successful farm shop enterprise which has grown from modest beginnings into a retailer of considerable renown.

 

Twenty years ago my wife and I discovered Macknade Farm Shop, remembering our first impression as we entered a large building which from the outside did not suggest anything special: " AMAZING - we could not initially comprehend the scale of the comprehensive display of 'fine foods' - with so much to choose from my debit card took a hammering!

 

See full article

 

25/05/2018
Looking forward to another bank Holiday weekend

 

After the stunning Early May Bank Holiday with record temperatures on the Monday, we approach our second bank Holiday in May with the prospect of higher than average temperatures, but the strong possibility of random showers and some thunderstorms and scarily, the mention of HAIL which sets all fruit growers nerves jangling!

 

See full article

 

18/05/2018
The English Apple Man reflects on Produced in Kent's Food & Drink Conference

 

While The English Apple Man now lives in East Sussex, for the first 65 years, my home and working life was exclusively in Kent.

 

See full article

 

11/05/2018
Record temperatures over the Bank Holiday while many orchards are in full bloom

 

Bank Holiday Monday was a record with temperatures reaching 27 Centigrade....

 

See full article

 

04/05/2018
After Monday's extreme rain and cold, what next?

 

In the space of two weeks, the long cold spring erupted into a stunning display of blossom on plums, pears, cherries and apples.........and ornamentals of many species...........this week its been a mixed bag, with Monday atrociously wet and very cold.......but the week is ending warmer with prospects for the Bank Holiday weekend, warm and sunny...in fact all of next week promised the same............today Friday 4th May, many of the mainstream apple varieties are in full bloom or just past it.........

 

The bitter cold on Monday will not help flowers which have pollinated achieve fertilization, but those releasing pollen later this week will have excellent warm conditions for pollen tube growth essential for fertilization.......

 

See full article

 

27/04/2018
Blooming lovely

 

After a quiet couple of weeks when fruit buds sat still, last week's well above average temperatures after the prolonged cold weather has initiated an 'explosion' of blossom on all fruit trees...

 

The English Apple Man had a busy few days: On Tuesday, attending the Food & Drink Conference organised by Produced in Kent at the University of Kent. Wednesday and off to Pluckley for the BIFGA Spring Walk and Thursday at the Marden Fruit Show (MFS) AGM held at Bradbourne House East Malling. In the afternoon, after the AGM and lunch, we visited the AGRI Trial plot with AGRI Agronomist Colin Bird and his assistant Francesca Salinari.

 

See full article

 

20/04/2018
With the warmest April day for 70 years, nature is playing catch up

 

In the space of seven days, apple fruit bud has moved from the 'early green cluster stage' to 'early blossom' ............IF we continue with average temperatures (this week has been above average) The English Apple Man anticipates most apple varieties will be in Full Bloom during the first week of May.....

 

See full article

 

13/04/2018
The English Apple Man visits KMTV and Hole Park gardens

 

The weather is warming up and 'all plant life' is developing before 'our very eyes'

 

Below: left; Bladon Pippin is into early mouse ear and right; Discovery at mouse ear/early green cluster

 

 

See full article

 

06/04/2018
Easter is over for another year

 

Easter is over and we are already 1/4 of the way through 2018.......and still no 'clear' indication of when apple blossom time will be, although it is gradually getting warmer..........

 

See full article

 

30/03/2018
Easter and April showers

 

Easter is early this year and coincides with a busy week for The English Apple Man's Family.........

 

See full article

 

23/03/2018
How late is this season?

 

The winter has been colder than we have seen for a while; plenty of winter chill this year........

 

See full article

 

16/03/2018
Award Winning Cider made in Kent

 

Turners Cider, a newcomer to Craft Cider makers is proving a winner..........

 

See full article

 

09/03/2018
More from NIAB/EMR and Taste of Kent Awards

 

Last week the English Apple Man reported the research into DMC (Dry Matter Content) being carried out at East Malling. This week, some more research presentations discussed.................plus results from the 2018 Taste of Kent Awards....

 

 

 

See full article

 

02/03/2018
The English Apple Man attends a Tree Fruit Day at NIAB/EMR

 

This seminar covered some key research carried out by NIAB/EMR on behalf of AHDB..........

 

NIAB EMR is a horticultural and agricultural research institute at East Malling, Kent in England, with a specialism in fruit and clonally propagated crop production. In 2016, the institute became part of the NIAB Group.

 

NIAB stands for: National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

 

See full article

 

23/02/2018
Focusing on Rural issues

 

On Wednesday, The English Apple Man joined fellow members of the Rural Focus Press Group founded by Pat Crawford and held at Hadlow College.

 

See full article

 

16/02/2018
The English Apple Man is cross

 

The English Apple Man is very cross...........

 

See full article

 

09/02/2018
BIFGA Technical Day 2018

 

The English Apple Man attends the 30th Annual BIFGA Technical Day...........

 

See full article

 

02/02/2018
Agrovista Conference

 

The Annual Agrovista Conference held at The Mercure Hotel - Brands Hatch in Kent has become a 'must attend' event for fruit growers....

 

See full article

 

26/01/2018
The English Apple Man visits East Kent Fruit Society and Agrovista

 

This is the time of the year when various fruit industry events are held; growers are not quite so busy and able to find time to attend these events..........

 

See full article

 

19/01/2018
Water, a very precious element

 

Water; not just quantity, but quality is the subject............

 

See full article

 

12/01/2018
Crikey, it's nearly mid January!

 

Each morning, as I get in the shower, its seems like only a few hours (not 24) since my last ablution.......

 

See full article

 

05/01/2018
What can we expect in 2018?

 

Looking into the future is a dangerous game - most predictions are proved wrong over time....however....

 

See full article

 

29/12/2017
a year of many contrasts

 

Looking back on 2017, there were many contrasting moments; 'personal' and 'professional' and in the world in general.

 

See full article

 

22/12/2017
Its only 'three more sleeps' to Christmas Day

 

'As the children say'.....only three more 'sleeps' to Christmas Day when Santa Claus calls...........

 

See full article

 

15/12/2017
The English Apple Man visits Kirkland's machinery demonstration day

 

Glossy new machinery is always appealing and there was plenty of it at Kirkland's Demonstration Day held at AC Goatham & Son's Griffins Farm last Friday - 8th December. More than 160 visitors attended the event, which is the third demonstration day since Kirkland re-located to Griffins Farm.

 

See full article

 

08/12/2017
NFU Farm Forum - Friendship, Fun and Food

 

On Friday 7th November, The English Apple Man attended a Farm Forum organised by Ashford & Tenterden National Farmers Union (NFU) Branch at Wittersham Village Hall.

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

01/12/2017
A right Royal opening and The English Apple Man makes juice, U40's Anniversay Ball and other bits and pieces

 

Today Friday 1st December HRH The Princess Royal formally opened the Arthur Goatham Building...........

 

See full article

 

24/11/2017
A quieter week for The English Apple Man - 'time to catch up'

 

With less pressure on my time, there is an opportunity to catch up with some of the visits The English Apple Man has been involved in these past weeks.....

 

See full article

 

17/11/2017
The English Apple Man visits 'even more' Supermarkets......

 

Last week The English Apple Man visited Tesco and M&S inspecting displays of Apples and Pears and purchasing samples for 'taste evaluation'

 

See full article

 

10/11/2017
The English Apple Man visits Supermarkets

 

Over the next two Journals, The English Apple Man will report on UK apples and pears on sale in our Supermarkets: this week - M&S and Tesco......next week: Waitrose, Sainsbury, Morrison. ASDA, LIDL and ALDI.

 

See full article

 

03/11/2017
National Fruit Show roundup...

 

There was too much to cover in last week's Journal, so this week The English Apple Man adds more stories from the 2107 National Fruit Show...

 

See full article

 

27/10/2017
The English Apple Man at the National Fruit Show

 

This week the 84th National Fruit Show was held at The Kent Event Centre at Detling Showground in Kent

 

See full article

 

20/10/2017
After two weeks relaxing in Malta The English Apple Man arrives back home on Saturday morning

 

THIS WEEK'S JOURNAL WILL BE COMPLETED AND ON LINE 'sometime' on SATURDAY EVENING!

 

See full article

 

13/10/2017
Apples at Ightham Mote

 

Ightham Mote is the perfect location for an apple orchard with 'iconic historic' apples, most of which are only visible in books or the National Fruit Collection...

 

See full article

 

06/10/2017
Reaching out to the next generation

 

Much is made of the influx of migrant workers working in the 'edible' horticulture sector and questions asked why we cannot find sufficient 'home grown' workers........there are many opportunities in the UK horticulture sector for young people to embark on a rewarding career, but education IS the key factor!

 

 

 

See full article

 

29/09/2017
Lots of variety this week

 

It's been a week of variety this week: Hadlow College on Wednesday, a visit to apple variety 'guru' Joan Morgan with a dozen varieties from my brothers small orchard in his garden in Wiltshire on Thursday and 'today' Friday 29th September involved in the 5th Pip to Plate event at Hadlow College and tomorrow; Saturday 30th September supporting Ightham Mote's apple event..

 

 

 

The Hadlow Focus Group has been part of The English Apple Man's calendar for several years now........

 

See full article

 

22/09/2017
The English Apple Man visits his brother in Wiltshire

 

Living in the world of intensive commercial apple and pear orchards, it's nice to get back to basics..........

 

See full article

 

15/09/2017
Up to date news on 2017 apple and pear harvest

 

This season is proving to be a challenging one....

 

See full article

 

08/09/2017
Seeking a point of difference and looking after the soil

 

In August The English Apple Man escorted a group of German fruit growers in the West Midlands and visited two growers who are trying to avoid the world of 'volume production'

 

See full article

 

01/09/2017
September morn..........signals Hop picking and Apple picking time.........

 

From an early age, I was conscious of September marking the start of Hop picking and Apple and Pears being harvested.....

 

For a view of the past: click on Hop Picking in 1950-59 an old black & white image of 'days gone by'

 

See full article

 

25/08/2017
It is an early season and as the UK cherry season comes to an end, home grown apples are next...

 

This season has been a good one for UK cherries.....lots of beautiful fruit, spread over a season which lasted for 10 weeks....now UK Apples & Pears will take centre stage....broadly speaking the cherry season starts with harvest in East Kent and finishes with cherries in Scotland..........

 

See full article

 

18/08/2017
The English Apple Man website is now 8 years old!

 

It does not seem that long ago, but it is now eight years since the first English Apple Man Journal was published on-line on 14th August 2009..........click on The English Apple Man Journal 14th August 2009

 

See full article

 

11/08/2017
The English Apple Man visits The West Midlands with a group of Dutch Fruit Growers

 

For the second time in 3 weeks, The English Apple Man visits Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.....

 

See full article

 

04/08/2017
The English Apple Man and German Fruit Growers visit the West Midlands

 

Some time ago, my friend Leon Jahae asked me to act as a guide for a group of fruit growers from Lake Constance as they visited fruit growers in Gloucestershire, Hereford and Worcestershire.

 

See full article

 

28/07/2017
The English Apple Man has been very busy in Kent and West Midlands

 

Last week The English Apple Man attended Fruit Focus and reported some of 'the action' and this week's Journal will include more from Fruit Focus........this week The EAM has been in the West Midlands visiting growers in Gloucester, Hereford, Worcestershire and Shropshire....which will be reported fully over the next few weeks!

 

See full article

 

21/07/2017
The English Apple Man visits Fruit Focus

 

The 2017 Fruit Focus was held on Wednesday 19th July at NIAB/EMR

 

See full article

 

14/07/2017
At the height of the Cherry season, The English Apple Man visits a prize winning grower

 

UK Cherries, like Home grown Asparagus, are in my opinion superior to any from overseas.....but the season for both, is short....however modern methods are extending both beyond their 'historic' natural season.

 

 

 

See full article

 

07/07/2017
What are the prospects for the 2017 apple and pear crop

 

The frosts this spring have left a mixed picture for this year's apple and pear crop.........

Below: left to right: Bramley eye russet, Gala malformed calyx. Conference Pear severe russet

 

 

See full article

 

30/06/2017
Celebrating 70 years

 

In 1947, soon after the end of World War 2, Arthur Conference Goatham set up in business: initially while living in Bearsted buying fruit at the farm gate or at auctions. In 1980 Arthur moved to Hoo on the Isle of Grain and bought Street Farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

23/06/2017
Looking to the future..........

 

But what will the future hold?

 

See full article

 

16/06/2017
English Cherries

 

From late May - early June, while driving on Country Roads there are countless signs advertising Strawberries & Cherries; that early the Cherries are not English; but now in mid-June with an early season, home grown Cherries are coming 'on stream'

 

See full article

 

09/06/2017
The English Apple Man in East Kent with the Under 40's

 

Today: Friday 9th June, The English Apple Man joined the next Under 40's Committee and past and future U40 delegates at Chandler & Dunn's farming enterprise at Lower Goldstone in East Kent.

 

See full article

 

02/06/2017
Living Walls

 

Living Walls is a concept for creating vertical green areas where conventional 'horizontal' areas are restricted....its not new, but it is gaining momentum and could be the 'next big thing'...........

 

See full article

 

26/05/2017
Growing Cider Apples organically in East Sussex

 

This week The English Apple Man tells a tale of an apple grower who has not sprayed his orchards with anything; no pesticides, no weedkiller, not even foliar feeds.....for more than 20 years.......

 

See full article

 

19/05/2017
The weather's warmed up!

 

With the increase in temperatures, and a a decent amount of rain, we are in a 'very growy spell' but not without it's challenges......

 

See full article

 

12/05/2017
This week's Journal is a bit of a 'mixed bag'

 

Recent frost is very much in the news; it would appear the continent is the worst hit and Vineyards in particular have been in a fight to reduce the level of damage with 'candles burning brightly'

 

See full article

 

05/05/2017
How will the mixed weather over the last two weeks influence the potential for this year's crop?

 

The variation in temperature over the last two weeks has been extreme; what does this mean for our fruit trees in blossom...

 

See full article

 

28/04/2017
The English Apple Man and BIFGA Spring Farm Walk

 

Wednesday and The English Apple Man joined fellow BIFGA members for the Annual Spring farm walk, held this year at Mole End Farms...after a very early blossom period, mother nature delivers a scare...frost damage and ice in the air.....

 

Comparing last week's blossom stages (21st April) with this week (28th April) the blossom development ranges from late bloom on Bladon Pippin to Early Fruitlet on Discovery and Red Windsor. To date no frost damage evident on these trees/varieties here in Hastings Sussex.

 

Below: left to right: Bladon Pippin, Discovery, Christmas Pippin, Red Windsor - on 21st April

 

Below: left to right: Bladon Pippin, Discovery, Christmas Pippin, Red Windsor - on 28th April

 

See full article

 

21/04/2017
Oh Dear, its all change again - life after Brexit has taken on a new dimension!

 

Last week The English Apple Man attended the Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) AGM held at Hadlow College. Presentations highlighting the consequences of government policy on our farming futures were central to our speakers...

 

Then an announcement of a General Election generates more speculation.....

 

 

 

 

See full article

 

14/04/2017
Is it mid April or mid May?

 

For many years Apple Blossom time traditionally came at the end of the first week of May....at least that is how The English Apple Man remembers this very enigmatic event...blossom time is a time of great hope and sometimes trepidation....

 

See full article

 

07/04/2017
Nature responds to nice UK weather - and a visit to an historic estate in South Africa

 

Sunshine and higher temperatures are resulting in rapid changes in fruit bud development.....talking to a grower in East Kent today, Pears are at the late blossom/petal fall stage with fruitlets already showing up...Cox at green cluster to early pink bud and Braeburn at Pink bud stage....

 

 

 

See full article

 

31/03/2017
A memorable birthday and more from South Africa

 

This week The English Apple Man celebrated his 75th Birthday........

 

See full article

 

24/03/2017
Still plenty to report on U40's visit to South Africa

 

This week's Journal will concentrate on U40's visit to Haygrove Heaven and Fruitways

 

See full article

 

17/03/2017
A second installment from South Africa

 

There is so much to write about the Under 40's visit to South Africa.....could take a couple more weeks...

 

See full article

 

10/03/2017
More stories from South Africa

 

The English Apple Man has now been home from South Africa for 6 days and 6 hours......it has taken all week to overcome the tiredness....but plenty going on to occupy the mind....

 

See full article

 

03/03/2017
What a week...5 intensive days in the Western Cape of South Africa..

 

This, the 50th anniversary of the Under 40's Conference was held for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere; this week's Journal focuses on some of my pictures (I took well in excess of 1,000 + lots of video) with short captions as The English Apple Man only arrived home in mid morning after our overnight flight from Cape Town....at 9pm on Saturday, I am battling the tiredness as I try to finish the Journal....body and mind have given up, so finish finishing Journal on Sunday morning.....just walked my dog (Sunday am) and its' 'p.....g' with rain and temperature 4.5C..last week we were enjoying 25C - 40C....its now afternoon and time to 'wrap up' thus week's Journal. Over the coming weeks, The English Apple Man Journal will cover many of the individual visits in greater detail....

 

See full article

 

24/02/2017
Capetown - here we come....

 

2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Under 40's Conference and takes place in the Southern Hemisphere for the very first time.....

 

See full article

 

17/02/2017
Look, no driver...

 

Driverless tractors are about to make their mark in UK orchards...

 

See full article

 

10/02/2017
Combating Canker

 

Canker is almost certainly the most challenging tree health aspect of apple production..

 

See full article

 

03/02/2017
February

 

February can be the most dreary month of the year....but its a good time for going out to lunch...

 

See full article

 

27/01/2017
What has The English Man been up to this week?

 

A busy week, with East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) AGM - Orchard Competition Awards and Dinner at Boughton Golf Club on Tuesday evening and the 29th BIFGA Technical Day at Dale Hill Golf Club on Wednesday.......

 

See full article

 

20/01/2017
Making the most of weather forecasting

 

The English Apple Man attended a Seminar this week where advanced local weather forecasting is used to guide growers when the risks of fungicidal infection periods may occur and thresholds for pests reached.

 

See full article

 

13/01/2017
A New Year under way

 

What is on the English Apple Man's agenda for 2017?

 

See full article

 

06/01/2017
What's new!

 

2017 gathers pace.....its already nearly a week old....

 

See full article

 

30/12/2016
As 2016 ends The English Apple Man looks forward to 2017

 

What's in store for 2017

 

See full article

 

23/12/2016
What's been happening in 2016?

 

In this week's English Apple Man Journal we will take a look back at some of the events featured in the Journals of 2016

 

See full article

 

16/12/2016
The English Apple Man attends a Seminar at Brands Hatch

 

Codling Moth, Cydia pomonella is a serious pest in apple orchards...

 

See full article

 

09/12/2016
The English Apple Man takes a second look at Interpoma

 

With more information from my friends Vikram & Simon.....and Richard Killian at FAST

 

See full article

 

02/12/2016
Still got my nursing hat on!

 

We have progressed this week, but Mrs EAM is still moving slowly..........not sure I was cut out for Nursing, but when its the lady you love, its surprising what you are capable of!

 

 

 

See full article

 

25/11/2016
This week has been a difficult one!

 

On Monday; Mrs English Apple Man had a new knee!

 

See full article

 

18/11/2016
An Englishman in Italy

 

On Thursday, The English Apple Man joined a small group of growers on a trip to Italy to view a new apple picking platform

 

See full article

 

11/11/2016
The Great Fruit Adventure

 

Tuesday morning and The English Apple Man is on route to New Spitalfields Market........

 

See full article

 

04/11/2016
British Summer Time Ends...

 

Suddenly the afternoons are shorter, but the sunshine has stayed with us for most of this week.......colder from Wednesday, but still with sunshine illuminating the autumn leaves..."until this afternoon when the rain arrived"...

 

See full article

 

28/10/2016
National Fruit Show review and Show Fruit at DEFRA

 

This week The English Apple Man Journal will review the 2016 National Fruit Show and report on our visit to DEFRA in London.....

 

See full article

 

21/10/2016
Its Showtime!

 

A busy week; The English Apple Man joined his fellow Judges on Tuesday at Detling Showground in Kent for the judging of the National Fruit Show competition fruit.........

 

See full article

 

14/10/2016
Sunny autumn days

 

This week we have enjoyed sunshine, mixed with some crisp autumnal temperatures, just right for walking my dog Poppy....and on Wednesday enjoying a society golf day at Lamberhurst Golf Club with the trees in varying degrees of beautiful autumnal colours.....

Below: Poppy

 

See full article

 

07/10/2016
October apples

 

We are now in October and while many varieties have been picked, the later maturing varieties are approaching harvest time.

 

Below: left - right: Crimson Crisp - Daliclass - Breaburn 'Mariri Red'

 

See full article

 

30/09/2016
Pip to Plate and other bits and bobs!

 

Today: Friday 30th September the 4th Pip to Plate event was held at Hadlow College

 

See full article

 

23/09/2016
Over the Channel to Picardy

 

The English Apple Man has been in France joining '50th anniversary celebrations and looking at new varieties of apples & pears.

 

See full article

 

16/09/2016
Mid September and apple & pear picking is in full flow

 

While the season has been running a week behind last year, the recent warm weather has brought picking forward and it's now 'full steam ahead' for the next few weeks.

 

See full article

 

09/09/2016
Its Gala Club time!

 

Another year, another harvest; it's Gala Cub pre-harvest meeting time again....

 

See full article

 

02/09/2016
Judging orchards in North Kent

 

The English Apple Man spent Tuesday judging orchards in the Gravesend & Rochester Orchard Competition

 

See full article

 

26/08/2016
Welcome to a new English Apple Season

 

The sun has been shining this week adding sugars and flavour to the first English Apples...

 

See full article

 

19/08/2016
Prize winning orchard

 

The English Apple Man joined East Kent Fruit Society (EKFS) members on Tuesday evening for the Winning Orchard Walk.

 

See full article

 

12/08/2016
Farm walk, Friends and Fun

 

Farming: 'NFU Orchard Competition Prize-giving' - Friends: 'Cricket on Benenden Green' - Fun: 'Golf at Hever Castle'

 

See full article

 

05/08/2016
Its orchard competition time

 

It is the time of the year for orchard competitions....East Kent Fruit Society held their competition on 18th & 19th July. The Goudhurst and Paddock Wood NU Branch held theirs on 27th, 28th & 29th July. EKFS Stone fruit judging took place on 28th June.

 

See full article

 

29/07/2016
Fruit Focus on a very hot day

 

The Annual Fruit Focus event was held at East Malling Research on Wednesday 20th July.

 

See full article

 

22/07/2016
A very enjoyable and informative evening on the hottest day in 2016

 

On Tuesday 19th July, The English Apple Man joined the Under 40's at Brogdale Farm.

 

See full article

 

15/07/2016
Pollinators, Predators and Productivity

 

Pollinators, Predators and Productivity

 

See full article

 

08/07/2016
English Cherries and farewell to a Great Man

 

Its time for English Cherries again and The English Apple Man attends the funeral of Lord Mayhew of Twysden.

 

See full article

 

01/07/2016
BIFGA members hold their AGM at Hadlow College

 

The 28th AGM of the British Independent Fruit Growers Association (BIFGA) was held this week at Hadlow College.

 

See full article