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English apples make late arrival
English apples are finally arriving on supermarket shelves after this year's unusual weather made it the latest crop for a generation.
The fruit has been delayed by more than three weeks due to the long cold spring and late arrival of summer, which reduced the quantity of apples as well as their size, English Apples and Pears said.
According to the trade association, the crop has not been this late since 1985.
But one of the warmest summers on record contributed to good sugar levels and a crunchy, juicy texture.
They are also redder than usual because of the chemical reaction in the skin caused by the contrast between warm summer daytime temperatures and cool nights, the organisation said.
Industry experts have estimated the bad spring weather has cost growers approximately 10% of this year's crop.
The total crop is expected to be 115,000 tonnes, higher than the exceptionally poor crop of 86,000 tonnes last year but slightly lower than the 116,000 tonnes picked in 2011.
However Gala, now the UK's favourite apple, has produced a record crop that is 41% higher than Cox, which was the country's favourite apple for most of the last century.
English Apples and Pears chief executive Adrian Barlow said: "This year's crop of English apples is a real treat. Juicy, well coloured but later than usual, the major autumn varieties are about to appear on retail shelves.
"Contrary to some reports it's not a bumper crop, but the apples taste terrific and look superb."