Looking at the apple selection on the fruit counter in our grocers this morning I was reminded yet again of how the selection of apples has changed.
There were New Zealand cox's, rather small British cox's, Bramley cooking apples, tasteless Golden Delicious (a misnomer if ever there was one) and Braeburn apples from goodness knows where.
What has happened to our native varieties? Where are the Worcester Pearmaines, the Beauty of Kent, the Ellison's Orange Pippin, the Newton Wonder, the Russett, the Beauty of Bath and all the rest?
At certain times of the year our Greengrocery stall on the market will have Beauty of Bath 'the first apples of the season' and later on they will have 'russetts', almost the last apples of the season. And, of course, they always have Bramleys. But all other apples seem to have vanished.
Or have they? Once, about forty years ago, we were in a small town in the Vale of Evesham (a major fruit-growing area), and we came across a greengrocers with a whole row of baskets outside, each one containing an 'old-fashioned' apple. They were various sizes, some were a bit scabby - but by golly the ones we bought were far more tasty than anything I have tasted since.
When I was a child we had an Ellison's Orange Pippin and a Beauty of Bath tree in our garden. They tasted divine. Was that my young, unclouded palate or have apples all become the same size, the same taste, clones to suit some E U regulation?
If anyone lives in a fruit growing area, perhaps they can answer the question for me.