Consuming Issues: Crunch time for our core assets as English apple season approaches

Their names drip history as juicily as their flesh. Allington Pippin, Demelow's Seedling, Sir John Thorneycroft, Hoary Morning; all hint at the rich heritage and provenance of English apples.

Britain has 2,300 varieties of apples, with a few hundred more cider specialities, though you wouldn't know that from the shops.

Supermarkets, which sell 80 per cent of the fruit, typically stock only four or five varieties. Greengrocers and street markets are little better. This is the time of year, though, to make the most of the home-grown apples, wherever they can be found.

Thanks to an exceptionally good year, the first of this summer's harvest arrived at a Tesco in Sevenoaks in Kent two weeks ago.

For most of us, the English apple season starts on August 10 and continues to December, with a few stragglers lingering until March. During these eight months, those wildlife-rich units of the countryside – orchards – produce 240,000 tonnes of glorious, lip-smackingly sweet spheres.

Most are not Hoary Mornings or Allington Pippins ("sharp but agreeable flavour, pale greenish yellow with a little red"). They are the cheddars of the apple world: ubiquitous, ordinary and everyday enjoyable.

Forty per cent of eating apples are grown in the UK but often imported Galas and Braeburns. Other varieties bouncing off the shelves – Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious – cannot be produced here.

Demand for all-year-round imports from the likes of New Zealand, 11,000 miles away, have cut the number of English orchards by 60 per cent in the last 30 years and by a third since 1997.

The good news is that the supermarket chains have responded to the public outcry and, after more than a decade of decline, English orchards are thriving again.

"The situation began to stabilise after 2001 and four years ago there was an upsurge in demand for local supplies," says Adrian Barlow, chief executive of English Apples & Pears. "This was due to wider recognition of the quality of English apples combined with growing consumer concerns about climate change and carbon emissions."

Consumer power has halted the decline. What we need to do now is buy more English apples (production could double, according to Mr Barlow), particularly the more unusual ones. They could be found at street markets, farm shops or a neighbour's garden.

When author Tristram Stuart placed an advert on his local Freecycle website in Sussex ("Wanted: Apples"), he was so bombarded by fruit that he set up an old-fashioned press on a village green and squeezed 550 pints of apple juice, some of which became cider.

If you have an apple tree at home, you can take an apple for identification to one of hundreds of apple-tasting and juicing events taking place across the country on Apple Day, October 21.

"It seems amazing that when our season is going on you can still pick up half-dead apples from the other side of the world," says Sue Clifford, a director of Common Ground, Apple Day's co-ordinator.

But only eat them in season, she adds. "By May, the strawberries and plums are arriving and there is a whole new world of wonderful fruits that you can pack in before the next apples arrive."

Hero: Cadbury

Fairtrade versions of Dairy Milk have gone into 30,000 shops, helping thousands of small farmers in Ghana and making the British chocolate giant the biggest global buyer of Fairtrade cocoa. And the price is staying the same.

Villains: Ryanair

In 18 months, Ryanair has raised credit card charges from £2 to £5 and debit card charges from 70p to £5 per person, per flight. Wizz has increased debit card charges from 70p to £4 each way. Flights are still cheap, but not as much as they look.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

    Service Desk Analyst - (Active Directory, Support, London)

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst - (Active Di...

    Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

    Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, VBA)

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition