Why We Sometimes Switch Apple Varieties - A Story Of Supply And Seasonality
We switch the variety or source of the apples that you get in our Fruutbox a few times each year. We've recently swapped out the Braeburns for these lovely English Royal Gala apples that are grown in Devon, because some of the Braeburns weren't as crisp as we'd like. Our apples need to pass the crunch test, which these definitely do.
Why Do We Need To Switch Apple Varieties?
Well, apples may be available all year round, but there are actually only two apple harvests each year; one in the Northern Hemisphere autumn, and one in the Southern Hemisphere autumn (our spring). In recent years the disconnection between so many people and where and how our food is grown has become more and more apparent, and apples are a great example of this. We can pick up and eat an apple on any day of the year, forgetting or unaware that they are a seasonal crop. High demand for apples and the global economy means that developed nations don’t need to eat seasonally.
Apple Harvests And Global Supply
Apples are harvested and then stored over the winter so that there is a continuous supply, but they need to be kept as cold as possible because this keeps them crisp and crunchy. Apples from each year's harvest can be commercially stored for around six months, before supply switches to the first crops from the other hemisphere. At this late stage in the winter, the UK is starting to get towards the end of it's own supply and some apples may lose their crunch. This is why we’ve just switched varieties to one that has stored better. Then, when the Southern Hemisphere harvest happens we'll get the first of their apples arriving by sea a few weeks later (from South Africa). The UK will be eating imported apples from the Southern Hemisphere through the spring and summer before the first British and European apples ripen in the orchards in late summer and through the autumn months. This is the same for almost all apples that you can buy in the UK, whether from a supermarket or an independent greengrocer like us.
We founded Fruutbox with the intention of making plastic free home fruit and veg delivery an easy and appealing option by offering, amongst other things, consistent and high quality produce. We’d love to be able to supply the same variety of apple all year round, but it wouldn’t make for a consistent product. Early season apples can be really crunchy and a bit sharper, then as winter wears on the same supply of apples becomes softer. We believe that supplying consistently crunchy apples is better and that’s why we switch varieties a few times each year.
Delivering you consistent, high quality produce all year round is an exercise in logistics, but it's worth it for a good apple!