Autumn has always heralded the return of English apple season, and this week sees the first harvest appearing in shops across the country. This year’s crop is both unusually early and outstanding in quality, following an early spring and glorious summer weather.
English Worcester, Delbarestivale and Early Windsor varieties are all on sale, up to a month earlier than in 2013. Cox and Gala will be ripe in a few week’s time, with Russet, Braeburn and Jazz apples ready later in the year.
Adrian Barlow, Chief Executive of English Apples & Pears Ltd, which represents apple growers throughout the UK, said “2014’s apple crop is outstanding. [The apples show] good levels of juice, great ‘crunch’ and wonderful taste. The weather has been the critical factor with the early spring, warm temperatures, an outstanding amount of sunshine and adequate rainfall giving us excellent conditions for the apples to grow and ripen. The cold August nights have caused the apples to develop wonderfully intense colour.”
The bumper harvest, which this year will weigh 166,000, will come as a relief to farmers after 2012’s crop was called ‘the worst apple harvest in decades’.