Commercial yields of English Braeburn have reached a point where they will make a real contribution to the season, said Robert Mitchell, chairman of the National Fruit Show.

Speaking at the industry’s shop window in Kent, he said there would be almost 1,000 tonnes available this season with volumes expanding as new orchards came on stream.

“The planting has been big and bold and has received a high level of support from the retail trade. Our fruit will become a significant force.”

The interest in Braeburn reflects the search for known international varieties which can be grown in the UK or the
development of niche market fruit.

Following its announcement that Jazz was looking particularly good in its first trial year, Worldwide Fruit was displaying several other highly coloured varieties for growers to evaluate. These included several Gala/Braeburn crosses such as Lochbuie, Marari Red, Hillwell, Joburn, Fenwicks and Red Field. Others like Kanzi are lesser known.

English breeders, too, are competing for an apple market which, if the pace continues, will be radically altered in five years. Cameo has already proved its worth and the 300 tonnes picked this year is double last season.

Worcester-based nurseryman Frank P Matthews has high hopes for Scrumptious, a early apple marketed in September-October which has already performed well in a marketing test with Marks and Spencer at its Bluewater store. Other new apples under test included Park Farm Pippin and Sunrise.

Another is Hereford Russett, sweeter than Egremont and already planted under licence for one supermarket.
Ed Bedington