A campaign has been launched to save British apples with imports of foreign varieties like Braeburn and Gala now accounting for 70 percent of all apples consumed in the UK each year. Ivor Bennett reports on how some varieties may be at risk of being lost for future generations.
From the Blenheim Orange to the Ribston Pippin, the names are exotic as they are numerous. There are over 2000 varieties of apple in Britain And, despite appearances, there is no such thing as a bad apple, says farmer David Dean. SOUNDBITE (English) DAVID DEAN, APPLE GROWER, CHEGWORTH VALLEY, SAYING: "They don't have to be perfect in shape and size, there can be black marks on them from scab and mildew. That doesn't matter here, people pick up apples here because of taste." For supermarkets though, image is everything. Preferring the more uniform foreign varieties like Braeburn and Gala, which account for half of the apples sold in the UK alone. In fact just 1 in 3 apples eaten in Britain is from here, leaving many varieties rocked to the core, says Borough Market's Kate Howell. SOUNDBITE (English) KATE HOWELL, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, BOROUGH MARKET, SAYING: "If people aren't buying them, enjoying them, and eating them, there is a risk that they are lost for future generations. We've got five of some of the rarest and most unusual varieties here, all of which this year have only produced 10 to 20 kilos each." The Decio - Britain's oldest variety - has only one tree left and it produced just three apples this year. So can consumers be persuaded to buy British? SOUNDBITE (English) UNIDENTIFIED MAN, SAYING: "It's pretty good." SOUNDBITE (English) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN, SAYING: "Is it nice? Nice and sweet?" But is it sweet enough? Consumers may need to take a bigger bite to stop British apples losing their shine.