On the crest of a New Year, The English Apple Man looks back at stories from this past year!
In the first Journal of January 2022 we were still under the influence of that evil virus
To Quote from last January
"As we pray COVID-19 can be brought under control, the science and technology behind vaccines have given us hope of returning to some form of normality.
In the fruit industry science and technology are more important than ever! We have always battled diseases and pest control, but now as changes in society land on us at an exponential rate, we rely on science and technology allied to a better understanding of the challenges we face!
A recent planned demonstration on the use of drones in early December became a ZOOM event due to concerns about Omicron".
In this week's Journal The English Apple Man features one Journal from each month of the year, with an opening passage taken from each Journal.
"This week The English Apple Man joined family and friends of Graham Caspell as we paid our respects and said farewell to a very good friend. Since 2008, Graham was responsible for all farming operations at East Malling Research station both commercial and science".
"Achieving success in the competitive word of global apple marketing is becoming increasingly dependent on breeding a quality variety and protecting it with a BRAND. The most successful global brand is Pink Lady with it's licensing agreements issued only to carefully chosen growers. For the first time Pink Lady is being grown and marketed by two leading UK producers"
"Annually the East Kent Fruit Society met in January for their AGM, Dinner and Trophy Presentations in late January.
Due to COVID19 the 2022 AGM was held in early February on ZOOM, but for the first time in two years the Annual Dinner and Trophy Presentations took place as a 'live event' at Faversham Golf Club on Tuesday (last) 8 March".
"Farm Shops have developed considerably over the last 50 years, from simple buildings offering a limited range of home produced produce to many very sophisticated enterprises selling a wide range of produce, not necessarily grown 'on site'
On Tuesday The English Apple Man visited Chris & Lesley Dench and their sons John and Nathan as they re-opened their farm shop with a new upgraded shop and supporting area servicing the needs of the shop and their fruit juice business"
On Thursday morning The English Apple Man joined fellow members of The Press for the official opening of the new £11.3 million investment in a 'state of the art' research centre at NIAB at East Malling
Following on from last week's Journal, The English Apple Man sets out the Unsustainable nature of Supermarket retail prices in face of cost inflation!
This season will be a determining factor in the future of 'home grown' apples!
The prices which have been squeezed over the last few years, are no longer sustainable!
Even before the recent 'rampant inflation' financial returns home to the grower were hampering investment in new orchards.
The 2022 UK Cherry season is now 'up and running'
This week the English Apple Man had been intending to join fellow members of East Kent Fruit Society for our annual 'Stone fruit' walk, but unfortunately due to a health issue, I was not able to attend.
I thank my very good friends Norma and Brian Tompsett for stepping up and sending me a report and pictures of this excellent evening event!
Back in March the English Apple Man crossed the threshold into the realm of an Octogenarian and asked by his brother David; "what would you like for your birthday present, I replied, well I have always fancied a visit to Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.
" Ok, then we will do that said David"
Yesterday, Thursday 29th September the EAM called in at Nichol Farm at Deerton Street near Faversham in East Kent to see how apple picking was progressing. Nick Moor and his manager Richard Castle grow predominately Gala and Spartan at Deerton Street
After a very challenging summer with drought affecting fruit size, the UK apple crop is of good quality and for the most part of good size. early indications were of size potential 5mm above the popular size for UK consumers. But the extent of the drought reduced the fruit size harvested.
On the continent, where consumers prefer larger apples. the drought has left their growers with too many smaller apples. They will only make money for larger sizes from their domestic markets, leaving a mass of unmarketable fruit to deal with
On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the 89th National Fruit Show took place at the Kent Event Centre at Detling. This season has presented many challenges and The English Apple Man has highlighted many of the issues over the last few weeks, but while those challenges remain, this season has produced the most wonderful crop of British apples due to the summer sunshine which has produced brilliant red colour and sweeter than usual apples.
The highlight of the 89th Show was the attendance by HRH Countess of Wessex who opened the show at 10am before spending four hours touring the show and sitting in on items of particular importance.
In recent Journals, The English Apple Man has focused on the critical challenges our UK apple growers are facing, and more will be reported in the New Year.
But this week The EAM focuses on apple varieties which command higher retail prices and return growers a profitable return!
The most successful high value Global apple is Pink Lady. There are others like Jazz which has modelled it's marketing strategy on the success of Pink Lady.
For many years we believed Pink Lady could not or would not, be grown in the UK. But as the effect of climate change improved the potential for Cripps Pink to be grown here, and the owners of Pink Lady licences accepted the potential for UK Pink Lady production.
Before closing this week's Journal, The English Apple Man signs off with a YouTube video of Charlie Barnett's Festive creation, A Winter's Night written, produced and performed by Charlie who is a friend of my son Stuart.
That is all for this week/year
Happy New Year
The "English Apple Man