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!
What's on the cards (get it?) for December???
Well today it's 'p.....g' with rain and I am not feeling over productive while deciding what to write about this week!
We (my wife and I) have recovered from nasty colds and Poppy our dog who was very poorly a couple of weeks ago, has responded well to her medication and is almost back to normal.
Below: left; Poppy sleeps more now and right; she still enjoys sitting on my wife's lap!!
Mrs English Apple Man is busy at the kitchen table writing Christmas cards and wrapping presents - "I am not very good at the card writing operation, so very lucky to have such an organised wife!
Below: In the orchards the leaf is still hanging on some varieties; this is a Braeburn orchard
Below: Rockit in it's previous packaging - now replaced with a card tube
We popped into Hastings late this morning to collect our 'new pairs of glasses' - I get depressed when realising the value of a postage stamp is more than I earnt in a day in my youth and the price of my glasses today would have bought my first new car back in 1963!
While shopping in Hastings - "my wife needed a few more Christmas cards" - The English Apple Man slipped off to look at the apples on display in M&S.
Among the home grown varieties on display were: Bramley cooking apples, loose Gala dessert apples, Perfect Pick Cox, Jazz and Smitten apples and Perfect Pick Conference pears and Rockit the small apples in a tube.
Previously marketed in a plastic tube (like tennis balls) Worldwide Fruit who market Rockit have adopted a card tube, moving away from plastic in tune with environmental concerns about global plastic pollution.
Below: Great British Apples on display in M&S Hastings today
I bought Perfect Pick Jazz grown by Paul Mansfield and Perfect Pick Smitten grown by Clive Chandler.
Below: left; 'Perfect Pick British Jazz' and right; 'Perfect Pick British Smitten'
Having eaten a Smitten in place of a dessert tonight, I can highly recommend it's firm, crisp and juicy texture complemented by a sweet taste. The Jazz an equally crisp, juicy and sweet tasting eating experience
In recent EAM Journals I identified the global harvest labour challenge and utilising mechanisation in the shape of picking rigs and picking platforms.
From Washington State USA via The Good Fruit Grower reporting on
WSTFA annual meeting
Due to unpredictable politics and demographics, immigration is no longer a reliable way to fill the labour needs of the tree fruit industry, Karen Lewis, Washington State University tree fruit extension specialist, told growers and fruit industry representatives at the 2018 Washington State Tree Fruit Association Annual Meeting on Monday in Yakima, Washington.
Growers must look toward automation and mechanization.
An interesting statistic from the WSTFA annual meeting is the 2018/19 export data 'to date' for Washington State apple exports.
Brexit, Brexit, Brexit
That "B" word dominates everything! The conjecture over 'should we' or 'shouldn't we' - 'deal or no deal' (I thought that was a TV programme) - watching BBC Question Time last night, otherwise (supposedly) intelligent panel members arguing over the projected outcome; and when did any previous projections prove to be correct?
Along with millions of others, I am totally fed up with the ongoing saga!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe the best solution would be to 'flip a coin' - heads we stay in and tails we leave and live with WTO rules!
I rather like this amusing appraisal circulated on a friends Facebook page!
New Official language for Europe - maybe slightly out of date with Brexit!!!
The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi TU understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.
The weather forecast still indicates rain and Rudolph agrees!!!!!
That is all for this week
The English Apple Man