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English apples have long been renowned for their outstanding taste and flavour. This is due largely to the mild British climate that usually provides a long growing season with regular rainfall and without excessive temperatures. This allows the developing apples to grow relatively slowly, thus producing great taste. Regular rainfall produces good levels of juice whilst the lack of excessively high temperatures results in crunchy texture. Of course, taste and flavour varies by variety and English apples offer a range of both resulting in a wide choice for consumers.
The Bramley, first raised from a pip in 1809, is one of the few varieties in the world selected specifically for cooking. It has a unique ability to retain its taste during cooking and to develop a light, airy, moist consistency once cooked. The variety is only grown commercially in UK and is unrivalled as an apple for cooking - it is truly an iconic product.
English growers are very aware of the importance of the soil and of the environment in general for producing good crops whilst minimising the affects of pests and diseases. Most are members of the Red Tractor Scheme which requires amongst other matters minimum use of chemicals, maximum recycling and the safe disposal of waste. Every grower is independently audited on a regular basis and must maintain detailed records to demonstrate compliance with the Scheme. Suppliers to most supermarkets are required to meet additional standards and many growers also belong to other schemes which focus on particular aspects of care for the environment.
In recent years much research has been undertaken to deter pests and diseases through changes in production techniques and the encouragement beneficial insects by planting appropriate fauna on the headlands of orchards and in windbreaks. Additionally, modern packhouses and cold stores have been designed to minimise the use of energy whilst recycling water that is used in the grading processes and collecting rainwater for irrigation. The most modern orchard systems monitor tree requirements for nutrients and water through computerised systems that deliver exactly the correct amounts of both thus matching tree requirements, virtually eliminating wastage and avoiding adverse affects on the soil.
Orchards act as carbon sinks by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the tissues of trees. Consequently, increases in the production of English apples help to reduce some of the emissions that contribute to climate change. Furthermore, buying locally produced apples and pears helps to reduce the higher level of emissions associated with imports.
All chemicals that may be used in the production of English apples and pears are subject to a rigorous registration process to ensure they are safe in terms of human health and the environment. Once approved for use they are constantly re-evaluated to ensure that they continue to be safe. Assurance schemes require the full traceability of English apples and pears from orchard to ultimate customer together with the maintenance of detailed records by growers of various aspects of production. This ensures that if any problems arise, the source can be traced rapidly and precisely.
All companies involved with the production and packing of English apples and pears are subject to stringent legal requirements to ensure that workers are treated fairly and ethically. Furthermore, import replacement is beneficial for the UK's balance of payments and the UK economy in general.
Find out about the history of English Apples. Click here.
There’s an English apple for everyone - Find your perfect apple - TAKE THE QUIZ Click here.
The English Apples and Pears Ltd. iPhone App allows users to check the origin of the fruit. In the UK apples are sold with a 3 or 4 digit label which identifies the variety and source. Click here.