2015’s apple harvest: what to expect

Among the highlights in this Sunday's episode of Countryfile, Matt Baker is in Kent looking into the changing nature of the apple industry. Will this year's harvest be more like last year's or the disaster of 2012?

MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - 2015/10/20: Apple variety on display at a farmers market,. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Apple harvests can vary hugely. Just three years ago, apple growers faced a crop which was widely labelled as ‘the worst apple harvest in decades’. But last year saw a significant improvement, as we reported, with the Chief Executive of English Apples & Pears Ltd (EAP) calling 2014’s apple crop “outstanding”. And this year’s harvest is expected to consist of over 160,000 tonnes, as Matt Baker investigates on Sunday’s Countryfile, the biggest harvest in 20 years.

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The Managing Director of a key growing company shows Matt some of the technology used in the harvest. Trees are planted closer to one another on trellises to maximise sunlight.

He also tries out a number of different apple varieties, some trialled over decades, which could be in shops not too long from now.

Apples are put in a cold store with limited oxygen and CO2 to preserve freshness for months. After being put in robotic sorting and washing machines, the apples also face being photographed 15-20 times to check for size, shape, colour and blemishes; the EAP’s apples are often photographed more than 50 times. Infra-red is also used to test whether they’re bad on the inside.

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Tune in at 6pm on Sunday for the full story.