M&S brings back British Golden Delicious

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has this year returned British-grown Golden Delicious apples to supermarket shelves, marking the end of their 30-year absence.

Currently, most Golden Delicious apples on sale on the UK high street are French, but this season there will be three tonnes of British Golden Delicious on sale in selected Kent and London M&S stores.

If the trial is successful, M&S said it will roll this out to many more stores next year.

The apples were discovered by the supermarket on a visit last year to Kent apple grower Simon Bray.M&S fruit expert Emmett Lunny found that Bray, from Norton near Sittingbourne, was using Golden Delicious to pollinate his Bramley and Cox apple trees and sending the leftover Golden Delicious apples for juicing.

Emmett realised that if the Golden Delicious variety could be grown in the UK for this purpose, they could be grown for consumption. He asked Bray if he would start pruning and thinning the fruits on the pollinator trees so that they would be suitable to sell in M&S stores this season.

Previous attempts elsewhere to sell British Golden Delicious have failed to deliver fruit as good as the French Golden. But Simon Bray has spent three-times as long tending to his Golden Delicious pollinators this season and, according to Emmett, the English Golden now looks as good as the French Golden but has a better flavour.

Emmett said: "With just a bit of lateral thinking, the grower and I were able to come up with a way to bring a classic apple variety back to the UK. This is a great result for British apple growing and for M&S customers, who we know love to enjoy our delicious British apples when they are in season."

Golden Delicious apples went out of favour in the 1970s when British growers began growing the bi-coloured varieties with sweeter flavours that were more popular with UK consumers.

Emmett said: "It's great to be able to replace French imports with Kent-grown Golden Delicious."

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