Last week The English Apple Man visited Tesco and M&S inspecting displays of Apples and Pears and purchasing samples for 'taste evaluation'
SO SORRY FOR THE LATE ON-LINE PUBLICATION - IT IS NOW LATE AFTERNOON ON SUNDAY 19th NOVEMBER
A very, very busy week for The English Apple Man - retail visit on Monday morning; a visit to Gillian Jones 'Ightham Mote 'Cobnut Queen' (more about Gillian's enterprise in future EAM Journals) - on the way home a visit to Waitrose.....
This week The EAM paid visits to Morrisons, Waitrose, ASDA, ALDI. LIDL and Sainsburys......
Monday morning and a visit to Morrisons at Eastbourne
Below: Morrisons shopping bag £12.04
Below: left; Morrisons Royal Gala and right; Morrisons 'Market Stall' Cox
The Royal Gala 6 apples at £1.50 were crisp and juicy with good flavour; the Cox, grown by Melvyn Newman in East Kent also £1.50 x 6 - crisp and juicy but lacking flavour
Below: left Morrisons loose Bramley and right; Morrisons 'Just for Kids' Royal Gala
Encouraging to see Morrisons have modified the Bramley specification to allow frost ring, which is 'after all only a cosmetic defect' priced at £2.03 kg - the 'Just for kids' 8 small Royal Gala £1.27 from Michael Bentley in Gloucestershire was crisp and juicy with good flavour
Below: Morrisons Smitten
Smitten priced at £1.82 x 4 apples grown by Paul Mansfield was very crisp, juicy and had good flavour
Monday afternoon and next stop Waitrose at Tonbridge
Below: Waitrose shopping bag £13
Below: left; Waitrose Opal apples and right; Waitrose Jazz
The Opal £2.50 x 4 apples from John Portass in Norfolk was very crisp, juicy and had good flavour - Paul Mansfields Jazz crisp, juicy and very good flavour priced at £2.50 for 4 apples
Below: left; Waitrose Bramley cooking apples and right; the same fruit cut to show clean internal condition
The Bramley in Waitrose were cosmetically perfect with 'no sign of frost ring' priced at £1.85kg the internal condition excellent
Waitrose Smitten priced at £2.50 for 4 apples, grown by Paul Mansfield was very crisp, very juicy and had good flavour - the Cox grown by Robert Pascal and priced @ £2 x 4 apples was crisp, juicy and had very good flavour
Below; Essential Braeburn ' value pack' @ £1.90 also grown by Paul Mansfield
It maybe a value pack, but the fruit was very crisp. very juicy and had very good flavour
Tuesday some time In 'quiet reflection with Mother remembering my father's Birthday (14.11.1910)
Wednesday afternoon and a visit to ASDA in Tunbridge Wells; "sad to say, ASDA never inspires me"
Below: ASDA shopping bag - 'receipt unclear, so prices ?? but nevertheless price/quality/value
Below: ASDA Bramley 4 pack
ASDA Bramley 4 pack with 4 medium sized apples again allowed some frost ring; internal condition clean and free from any issues
Below: ASDA 'Farm Stores' 500 gram pack of Cox apples from Kent and ASDA polybag Gala
'ASDA Farm Stores' (not sure what that means) Cox x 500g pack size 55-60mm Class 2 - crisp, juicy and good flavour - ASDA Gala polybag Class 1 60-70mm crisp, juicy and good flavour: The EAM also bought loose larger 75-80mm Gala which was crisp, juicy and had good flavour
Friday afternoon the EM visits ALDI in Hastings £4.83
Below: ALDI shopping bag £4.83
Below: ALDI 'Nature's Pick' Conference pears and Aldi Cox both grown by Mark Gaskain in East Kent
Conference pears were crisp, juicy with very good flavour while the Cox were crisp, juicy and had good flavour
Below: ALDI Royal Gala grown by Mark Gaskain in East Kent and ALDI Jonagored grown by the Peake family in Suffolk
Royal Gala 6 pack @ 99p was very crisp, very juicy and had very good flavour a * buy - Jonagored also 99p for 4 large apples and had a crisp and very juicy texture but lacked flavour
Friday afternoon and its a a short visit to LIDL in Hastings
Below: LIDL shopping bag
Below:LIDL 'Oakland Gala' and LIDL polybag Gala
Nice to see a bit more UK apples in LIDL: in the past Italy, Germany, Portugal seemed to supply more of the range: this week The EAM found 2 Gala offers and 'Oaklands Pears' 'Ideal for lunch boxes' on display. The 7 apple Gala polybag had very crisp, juicy fruit with weak flavour while the Gala 6 pack had very crisp, juicy anf good flavour, while the Gala 6 pack labelled 'Sweet & Crunchy' lived up to its title with very crisp, juicy fruit with good flavour
Saturday morning and last stop at Sainsburys in Hastings
Below: Sainsburys shopping bag £10.70
Below: Sainsburys Cameo and a Maribelle pack
In a normal season we would not expect to see Cameo on display now, but this season being an early one has changed the dimensions.......the Cameo 6 pack grown by AC Goatham was very crisp, juicy and had good flavour while the Maribelle polybag x 6 was crisp and juicy, but with little flavour
Below: Sainsburys Conference pears and Sainsburys Jazz
The Conference x 5 fruits were crisp, juicy with good flavour - the Comice Ripe & Ready' 4 pack of large pears (73-78mm) crisp/ripe and very juicy with very good flavour a * buy - both grown by AC Goatham in Kent
Below: Sainsburys Braeburn x 4 flow wrap and Sainsburys Jazz 4 4 flow wrap
Labeled 'British Braeburn' and grown by Paul Mansfield these 4 apple packs had very crisp, juicy and good flavoured fruit - the Jazz grown by Robert Hinge in North Kent were my * buy with very crisp, very juicy and very good flavour.
Summary: The quality and eating experience of most of the apples tasted is good; in some cases very good and in some a lack of good flavour. Gala; our numbeer one apple with circa 27% of UK apple sales is very reliable in terms of texture but variabke in the flavour department, with very good flavour in many samples, but weak flavour in some fruit, this is determined by the inception of sunlight and the availablity of nutrients....not surprisingly JAZZ which won the tastiest apple at the National Fruit Show and was judged Produced in Lent's tastiest apple is the * star choice overall, but there are very good eating samples in each variety....and very few disappointments............
Supermarket specifications In this almost unique season, with frost damage across many apple growing regions in the UK and of particuar importance - across Europe, the EU shortage is bound to add influence to the importance of a 'realistic' acceptance of 'minor visual blemish' not affecting eating quality: This is particularly poignant in the case of Bramley which has suffered high levels of 'frost ring' around the eye (calyx end) of the apple. Its comforting that key Supermarkets have eased their Bramley spec; to take occount of this blemish which 'is removed with the peel' and has no affect on the flesh of our unique culinary apple...........
That is all for this week.........next week's diary indicates an easier week, so expect the Journal for 24th November to be 'ON TIME'
The English Apple Man