The dwindling number of independent shops on most high streets has been well recorded and deplored; not so the concerns of apple growers.
In December 2011 a group campaigning for fair prices for food producers asked: “Which will we lose first – British milk or British apples? In February 2012 on the same site: “Bramley apple growers hit now . . . bring on the adjudicator!”
Pippa Woods of the Family Farmers’ Association asked: “Why did the British apple industry collapse and what future it has now? This is in connection with why we do not see many English apples in the shops.”
Andy Gilchrist, chairman of the South Lakeland Orchard group, who is a retired agronomist and was involved in the apple industry, gave the following answer:
“In 1970, over 2,000 farmers grew about 150,000 acres of apple orchards. Forty years later, less than 500 fruit farmers are growing about 50,000 acres. So the “collapse” is a loss of 67% of English orchards, and 75% reduction in the number of English fruit growers” – read on here.
Having recently enjoyed the wares of Granny Smith – a ‘takeaway’ overlooking Setagaya Park, which specialises in four delicious varieties of a raised fruit-rich apple pie – and coffee:
Classic Rum & Raisin
English Custard and
I wondered if this independent shop could offer a model for us. Granny Smith manager Asami Matsuo, asked if the idea might spread in Japan, answered, “We haven’t had a pie boom yet, so maybe it’s time.”
The writer would like to see apple focused shops in every town and village – preferably workers’ co-operatives – which could also incorporate apple-based products made by growers such as Hereford’s Dragon Orchard, which offers juices, ciders and chutneys.