Kent growers win UK 'apple run'

This summer's heat wave has helped Kent fruit growers win the race to get the first English apples into stores this year, Kent-based top fruit marketing company Norman Collett has revealed.

The company - winning the un-official UK "apple run" - delivered a batch of Kent-grown Discovery apples, the first of the UK season, to Tesco's Pembury store near Tonbridge last week.

Tesco apple buyer David Croxson said: "To most people, the British summer so far may have seemed a damp squib, but it has resulted in very good growing conditions for Discovery - traditionally the first apples of the season."

This year Discovery is one week earlier than average, and only three days later than last year - which was the earliest recorded harvest.

Croxson said: "A good amount of rainfall in May and June combined with normal summer temperatures and the last week's heat wave has created nice, firm, juicy Discovery apples with a good crunch factor.

"As a result, Kent residents are the envy of the nation as they will be the first to get their hands on these apples."

The English apple industry produces around 1.6 billion apples each year, which are harvested from the end of July until mid-October.

Growers began picking and packing apples last week and are transporting them to local Tesco stores. Stores nationwide will receive the apples from Sunday (10 August).

Tesco's Kent growers will collectively send out an estimated two million Discovery apples over the next four weeks until the arrival of Worcester and early Windsor in late August. They will also provide top-quality Gala, Egremont Russet, Braeburn, Cameo and Cox apples - plus Conference and Comice pears - this season.

Croxson said: "Tesco is committed to increasing the amount of English-grown apples it sells this year - we're hoping to reach record sales of 150 million apples."

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