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Sizzling summer heatwave leads to a bumper apple harvest

September 12, 2018 08:00 AM

Sizzling summer heatwave leads to a bumper apple harvest

Richard Pemble has supplied apples to Asda for more than 10 years from his farm in Kent. Here he writes about how the summer heatwave has helped produce a bumper crop.

There’s nothing like the British weather is there?

The prolonged sunshine this season has produced an early apple crop of over six million apples – a 12% increase year-on-year – with a fantastic sweet flavour. They're probably the tastiest since the turn of the millennium in my opinion.

The freezing conditions at the start of the year also meant British apples flourished this year, with the cold weather delaying the blooming of apple blossoms, protecting them from frost when they did finally emerge. This, coupled with consistently sunny days throughout summer, has helped boost sugar levels in the fruit, delivering tasty apples throughout the season.

Ultimately, you cross your fingers when growing fruit as it's so affected by our climate and weather. No one year is ever the same, and it really is up to the fruit gods.

I’ve been growing apples for Asda for 10 years and this year’s been incredible.

It’s easy to forget after the amazing hot, dry summer we’ve had here that there was really cold weather at the end of March, which meant the ground was simply still too cold for the blossom to flower, and the trees were not ready to support a full crop.

But our unique location in Kent, which is known as the garden of England, provides ideal growing conditions to produce apples of the highest standards. The countryside here shields our orchards from the harsh winds and creates a mild micro-climate which is ideal for growing apples to the highest standards. Kent benefits from long sunshine hours and water naturally supplied by reservoirs.

Mike Rudge, Asda Apple Technologist, writes: While the heatwave wreaked havoc on a number of fruit and veg, we worked closely with our apple growers like Richard to leverage the sizzling days to ensure we harvested our apples at the perfect moment, ensuring optimum ripeness and quality.

Apples are an essential autumn staple in every home, so we’re glad the weather has been kinder to us this year, allowing us to provide customers with apples for every occasion – whether as lunchbox fillers or warming pies.