Gala is now the biggest selling apple variety in the UK and over the next few years production is expected to increase by another 40 per cent. With its sweet flavour and attractive, sunset-red stripes, it is perhaps easy to see why it is so popular. Gala, like the equally ubiquitous Braeburn, is an apple of New Zealand origin. They both became popular in the 1990s due to their availability in the UK’s off-season. Trial orchards of these antipodean apples were planted and the effect has been a revival of the English apple industry with figures from 2011 showing 39 per cent apples sold here were grown here. This is good news for apple growers, but many people mourn the lack of traditional British apples on our supermarket shelves.
Raymond Blanc, the two michelin starred chef, believes that it is our addiciton to sugar that has led to the popularity of these New Zealand varieties. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph in 2014, he suggested that consumers confuse sweetness with flavour. In his view, the best tasting apples, such as the Cox’s Orange Pippin, have a complex flavour that combine a mix of sweet, sour, acid and bitter. So, this is our guide to a few apples that sadly aren’t available in our supermarkets but which we at Orchard Origins think are delicious. Continue reading
The apple trees are coming into blossom. For orchard owners it can be a nerve-wracking time. Apple trees only produce fruit if they have been properly pollinated. Good weather is an important factor. Late frosts and high winds can damage the blossom. Most fruit trees are pollinated by insects, in particular bees and hoverflies. Bees tend not to venture out if it’s too cold, too windy or too wet.
But don’t despair, although poor weather can be a problem, it only requires two or three warm days while the tree is in blossom for the insects to start foraging and for pollination to take place. Continue reading
Volunteering has always mattered to the folk at Orchard Origins. Starting off as a project at Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and then transitioning into a Community Interest Company (CIC), which it now is, volunteering has been the glue keeping operations going. Everyone who has come out with us has made an impact on what we do and is massively appreciated. Continue reading
The Bramley crops well, but the other apple tree never produces a thing. This is not an uncommon complaint. It’s usually the tree that has failed to fruit that is identified as the ‘problem’. In fact, the ‘culprit’ will almost certainly be the Bramley. Bramley’s Seedling is triploid. The trouble with triploids is they have no viable pollen and cannot be used to pollinate other apple trees. Continue reading
An orchard owner, whose apples we use for juicing, was perplexed as to why Orchard Origins’ apple juice tasted so much better than his own. The apples, after all, were the same variety; picked at roughly the same time and from the same orchard. The answer was simple. He had pressed his apples the day after picking whereas Orchard Origins had stored the apples until January to allow the flavour to develop and as a result produced a far superior juice. Continue reading