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The English Apple Man


3rd Sep 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

This week we include harvest assessment for Bramley, Conference Pears, Cox and Gala. This information is for the interest of readers of The English Apple Man and while based on data from an Agronomist, is NOT to be used by commercial growers.


The data covers the first two assessment weeks, 26th August and 2nd September. Detailing the maturity progression over the period.


Bramley @ 26th August 2021


On the majority of sites Bramley picking for long term storage should be started next week (w/c 30th August).


Most sites have a large range in size due to frost and secondary bloom, so ensure you know the 'marketable' sizes before picking gets underway.


Due to the exceptionally 'growy' season, combined with a lighter crop, it is expected that calcium levels will be poor on many sites and where calcium levels are less than the recommended 4.5mg/100g, delaying picking by even a few days will be advantageous, as we know that early harvesting greatly exacerbates the chances of bitter pit developing in store.


This could also give growers a chance to apply another application of calcium, which would also be beneficial.









Bramley @ 2nd September 2021


Bramley picking for long term storage should be underway and even for shorter term storage

should be started on all sites next week (6th September).


Generally crops are disappointing with a high percentage of large and small fruit with not much in between.


This is due to a high percentage of the first bloom being affected by frost and a high percentage of the fruit coming from secondary blooms, which have had a shorter growing season. Frost 'licks' and misshapen fruits are also an issue on a number of farms.


Conference @ 26th August 2021


Conference at 78% starch


Figures recorded this week are showing pressures 1.5kg higher than at the same stage last year. Brix levels are significantly lower, but even at this early stage, the vast majority are above the 11% minimum to prevent the fruit from freezing in store.


Starch levels are 6% higher than last year, but unlike apples, the starch level can increase before falling, so it will not be until next week that we can clarify the exact position on this.


However, based on the data above, picking for long term storage should begin week commencing 6th September. This will be confirmed in next week's newsletter, when our marker sites will have been tested again and comparisons with this week's data can be made.











Conference @ - 2nd September 2021


Conference 72% Starch


Over the past week, in all regions (East and West Kent and Wisbech), the average pressures have

fallen by approximately 1.0 kg, and average brix levels have risen by 0.5%. Starches have

remained relatively static, but with warmer weather predicted from the weekend this is likely to

change significantly over the next few days, which will make the Streif indices plummet (picking

should be underway by the time the index has fallen to 1.0).


Based on the above data, harvesting of Conference for long term storage should begin next

week (W/C 6th September). If you are only intending to store fruit for medium or short term,

there is an opportunity to delay picking, but having said that, if the fruit size, brix levels etc are

good, delaying harvest will increase the levels of wastage due to bird damage (rots) and fruit drop if the wind increases.


With pears, the soluble solids (sugar) acts as an antifreeze and enables the fruit to be stored at -1°C. With this in mind, it is essential that the soluble solid level exceeds 11% to prevent fruit from freezing in store.


COX @ 26th August 2021


Cox at 93% Starch


At this early stage, it is not possible to draw too many conclusions from the data presented above. However, starch degradation has started on all apples and is likely to move significantly over the next week or so.


Picking for long term storage is likely to be w/c 6th September, but this will be confirmed next week.


COX @ 2nd September 2021


Cox at 80% starch


Over the past week, firmness has dropped around 0.5kg, starch has fallen by 10% and brix has increased by 0.3-0.9% depending on region. Based on the above, the optimum date for long term storage will be towards the end of next week (9th-10th September).


The storage risk predictions for Cox for this season are as follows:- Low temperature breakdown - low. Core Flush - low.





Colour is improving rapidly and size is looking good in most Cox orchards. However, weather at cell division was poor and the good size is a result of the unbelievable 'growy' summer we have experienced, meaning that much of the fruit will have fewer cells which are filled with water. This could mean that maintaining firmness in store is more of a challenge.


Gala @ 2nd September


Gala at (95% +)


Measurements carried out on Gala this week can be summarised as follows:


The main parameter used to determine picking date of Gala is starch degradation.


Typically the initial decline is very slow and hovers around 95% for anything up to two weeks, before decreasing rapidly at around 4%/day.


This rapid decline is predicted to occur at the end of week commencing 13th September (16th-17th) and will be confirmed in future newsletters.












Bladon Pippin


From time to time The English Apple Man has featured Bladon Pippin on the website. This variety is one I have been involved in the development of with the variety owner Sean Morris. Now Bladon Pippin trees are available for gardeners to buy from Nurseryman Frank P Matthews and many garden centres across the UK.


I have gifted some trees to my family and friends. Last week I presented Professor Rebecca Cassidy with a Bladon Pippin tree to add to her collection of apples, pears and stone fruit.


Below: left; Professor Rebecca Cassidy and right; Bladon Pippin picture taken this week




Click on Bladon Pippin for the full story behind Bladon Pippin




The English Apple Man received a request from Kate Brookes-Smith from the gleaning project: The Felix Project.


Dear 'Apple Man'


"I have been reading your fascinating website, which I found through Pippins Farm Orchards. I work for The Felix Project, a London based charity that collects and redistributes fresh food that cannot be sold. This year we have already delivered the equivalent of 21 million meals to our charities and schools.


We currently work with several farms in close proximity to London whereby farmers ask us to their farms to collect surplus food from their fields. Last week we were near Canterbury harvesting cabbages and potatoes that were too large to sell and it is an area that we are keen to expand, as we believe it has huge potential.


I wondered if there is any way you may be able to help us grow our gleaning programme. We are finding the hardest part is building a relationship with the farmers to gain their trust to have us on their farms in the first place. We have vans and pickers who can be rallied at short notice to pick and pack surplus food.


If you have any advice or think you could help us in any way, I would be delighted to hear from you".


Kind Regards


Kate Brookes-Smith


Gleaning Assistant


The Felix Project



That is all for this week


Take care


The English Apple Man