But why weren’t Tesco selling any British apples?

A shopper was dismayed to discover his local Tesco selling 22 different varieties of apples but not one of them was British.

Leo Deen checked 22 different varieties of the fruit at Tesco on Hibel Road in Macclesfield for a native apple – before walking away empty handed.

Instead he found fruit which had been transported thousands of miles from Chile, the U.S., New Zealand and South Africa.

Mr Deen, the town’s mayor Janet Jackson and Food4Macc, a campaigning group, are now calling for stores to stock more locally-sourced produce.

Mr Deen, 50, from Siddington, said: ‘When I couldn’t find an English apple I had to check twice. A member of staff checked as well and admitted they had none in stock. He was clearly embarrassed.

‘Supermarkets should be buying local or at least from the same country and supporting British farmers, not flying in apples from the other side of the world during peak apple season in this country.’

Colin Townend, from Food4Macc, a voluntary group which campaigns for locally-produced food, called for Tesco to introduce a ‘local produce section’ in its stores.

He said: ‘We understand the economic drivers behind the supermarkets’ buying policies, but in the same way as organic food was a specialty product a few years ago but now enjoys its own sections in supermarkets, we would like to see the supermarkets having “local produce” sections, exploiting the loyalty to local producers that undoubtedly exists.’

Bit of a mystery really, isn’t it? Fresh local produce, stuff that’s in season……ah, wait. Here’s the list of picking dates for British apples. Other than Bramleys (a cooking apple) July and August are the one time of the year when there’s actually no British apples to pick. They’re either coming out of store or they’re being imported.

Meaning that, right now, we can either have fresh apples or we can have local apples but we cannot in fact have both fresh and local: it’s that seasonal thing, d’ye see? The equivalent of having to live off turnips in February.

56 comments on “But why weren’t Tesco selling any British apples?

  1. “Instead he found fruit which had been transported thousands of miles from Chile, the U.S., New Zealand and South Africa.”

    So that’s three in the southern hemisphere and one that goes much further south than us. A bit of a hint that this might be a seasonality issue?

  2. By the way, twenty two varieties of apples available in one shitty northern town is a bad thing?

    Assuming it’s true?

    Don’t they have a hashtag for that #firstworldproblems ?

    And doesn’t he want us to send money to poor overseas farmers

  3. Does the fact that these people are promoting an ideology of both the spiritual bond between the nation’s blood and its soil, and autarky, mean I can honestly and correctly call them Nazis then?

  4. Discovery have been around for a couple of weeks being early this year. There are even earlier varieties, such as Beauty of Bath or Juneating but they don’t keep well at all.

  5. I take it none of this lot are the same ones who were bemoaning the availability of fruit and veg all year round and the ignorance of food seasons among modern generations?

  6. Ian B
    “Does the fact that these people are promoting an ideology of both the spiritual bond between the nation’s blood and its soil, and autarky, mean I can honestly and correctly call them Nazis then?”

    No. Idiots will do.

  7. Ian B, have you read Susan Cooper’s 1960s novel Mandrake, in which the Town & Country Planning Act and Green local self-sufficiency lead to neo-Pagan fascism?

  8. @Richard my youthful memories of the Macc Lads may have led me astray. But tbf I did say ‘town’, not the bits around.

  9. Interested, I think you’re still right about Macc itself being a dump.

    But I’d guess that a Tesco big enough to stock 22 varieties of apples will have customers from a wide surrounding area, which changes the demographic.

  10. I touched on this the other day on my blog in the context of the food import sanctions Russia has imposed itself. There is a difference between being able to grow something in the UK, and being able to grow enough of that something to be self-sufficient and not need imports.

    I recall a conversation I had with a dimwitted leftist journalist once, who was complaining that supermarkets stocked imported watercress when watercress grows perfectly well in the UK. What she didn’t understand was that most likely all the watercress grown in the UK gets sold and eaten in the UK, but it isn’t enough to meet demand. Actually, she did understand, and her solution was to simply ban imports such that only British watercress got sold. Rationing, in other words.

  11. “we would like to see the supermarkets having “local produce” sections, ”

    Yeah, and then lefties will be banging on about Tescos profiteering from local producers and driving farmer’s markets out of business. And it’d be such a shame if all that lovely local produce was made available to the workers rather than just those who have the leisure time to get to a farmer’s market which is only open between 10:05 and 10:15 every third Tuesday of the month.

  12. @Richard

    Yep, understood. Though I personally highly doubt they have 22 varieties of apple. Tesco’s website shows (quick count) twelve varieties, plus some organic/non organic variations of, pre-packed/loose etc.

    I think the bloke is a liar with (as likely pointed out by Toby above) a vested interest and whichever journo wrote the story is an uneducated and unimaginative 12 year old!

  13. So, the bloke banging on that Tesco should stock local seasonal apples RIGHT NOW isn’t aware of when apples are in season. Awkward.

    Still – SMASH CAPITALISM!!

  14. And yes, I can’t find 22 varieties; only 11 on the website (although that’s not bad).

    If we’re allowing sub-categories, there are 4 varieties available as “organic” as well as regular and 2 varieties available as “orchard selection” (whatever that is), giving 17.

    Then there are the unspecified “value”, “finest” and “British”, giving 20 if we count them.

    Even that’s pushing it, and assuming that all those 20 were there – which they weren’t because some of the ones on the website are British. So what were the others? Is he counting bagged and loose separately? Mr Kipling Apple Turnovers?

  15. @Richard my youthful memories of the Macc Lads may have led me astray. But tbf I did say ‘town’, not the bits around.

    Oh lawks, I have both albums and saw them live once. That was an experience I’ll never forget.

  16. If I was to do one of Dickie’s astounding Venn diagrams of locavores and those who say that people don’t like choice I’m sure I would find a huge overlap.

    There’s obviously a business opportunity for their leaders here. They could set up a not for profit company to sell only local products and a single choice at that. Where stuff isn’t supplied locally they could guarantee it will be sustainably and fair trade and guaranteed not to boil Gaia.

    I envisage this series of outlets, only one in every town as people don’t want choice, selling under the brand name Courageous State. So we would get Courageous State apples, but only when in season, Courageous State tea bags from India etc. Other goods such as razor blades would be made in the Courageous State razor blade factory where all the workers would be bosses and bosses would be workers and all paid the living wage.

    Tesco’s et al would be quacking in their boots at the thought of us all being given what we really want as we leave their stores with all that choice from other countries and flock to the Couragous State’s bountiful and cheap store.

    Yes, I’m sure they would be on to winner there and would be happy to invest their own money in the venture.

    Oh wait, I’ve just realised the flaw in the plan, they only ever spend other people’s money, never their own on these crackpot ideas.

    (Slow day waiting for a conf cal to start 🙂 )

  17. Perhaps he should also mention that despite all the snow that falls on the town he can’t make a snowman in the car park either.

  18. That was interesting.
    I was, of course, fascinated to learn how Food4MACC proposed dealing with the pressing issue of Peak Oil. So I clicked on their link.
    And got a recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Pine Nuts.
    Beats me how you pass that stuff through a pump hose. Wouldn’t it block the fuel injectors?

  19. @Rob

    ‘So, the bloke banging on that Tesco should stock local seasonal apples RIGHT NOW isn’t aware of when apples are in season. Awkward.’

    Quality.

    @IanB

    Hee hee – they were something to behold.

    @BWAB ‘If I was to do one of Dickie’s astounding Venn diagrams of locavores and those who say that people don’t like choice I’m sure I would find a huge overlap.’

    Yes – and I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me how deciding to be a ‘locavore’ isn’t a choice.

  20. From the Food4Macc website:

    “cheap high-quality fruit and veg in the supermarkets have discouraged us from growing our own food”

    Those bastard profiteering supermarkets! How dare they provide people with cheap high quality food? This must be stopped.

  21. @Richard

    They are so transparent. What they mean is, ‘have discouraged other people from growing their own food, because they have better things to do than subsistence farming on a micro scale, and this is something of which we disapprove.’

  22. If you go to their “info” page they tell you how Cuba has successfully dealt with the Peak Oil issue.

    Good grief! I just looked at that page and it makes Ritchie look informed on matters of economics!

  23. Richard: From the Food4Macc website:

    “cheap high-quality fruit and veg in the supermarkets have discouraged us from growing our own food”

    Thanks for highlighting that. It’s more nonsense: lots of folk grow stuff and buy stuff from supermarkets too: salads in winter, avos all the year round and so on and so on.

    I’ve got Discovery and James Grieve apples at the moment but Tesco’s supply chain is more complex than mine which is why they were probably sourcing this week’s apples when British/local supplies were uncertain. That’s why you can go to the fruit and veg section of Tesco’s on any day of the year without feeling that you’re in an East German greengrocers.

  24. B(n)iS>

    “I was, of course, fascinated to learn how Food4MACC proposed dealing with the pressing issue of Peak Oil. So I clicked on their link. And got a recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Pine Nuts.”

    To be fair, going off and cooking dinner is a very reasonable response to peak oilers.

  25. “cheap high-quality clothes in shops have discouraged us from making our own by shearing our own sheep or slaughtering hapless animals for furs”

    If this man was in any way in charge of delivering food to Macclesfield there would be emergency UN air drops before the end of the first week.

  26. “I was, of course, fascinated to learn how Food4MACC proposed dealing with the pressing issue of Peak Oil. So I clicked on their link. And got a recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Pine Nuts.”

    This is why I like comment threads here. For all the arguing and sometimes flameyness, and the Arnald, there are moments of pure LOLFR comedy gold like this that make it all worthwhile.

  27. Hmm, that close to Liverpool you’d think they had some vague chance of having an idea of how fuel efficient containerised international shipping is. (Notes that if there is no oil to make fertiliser, then local production is probably going to be even harder hit than in more fertile, for the particular crop, zones. And whether it is a depot or farm, the last route segment to the consumer market will still be the least fuel efficient.

    But, clearly not. Ignorance as a badge of pride.

  28. Er, isn’t the Evil Tesco Narrative that their fruit n veg is too expensive and the poor are herded by uniformed henchmen into the ready meals isle? Hasn’t he read the memo ?

  29. Instead he found fruit which had been transported thousands of miles from Chile, the U.S., New Zealand and South Africa.

    The old canard that somehow imported food has more of a carbon footprint than local produce, this has been debunked many times over, not only is the transport cost a minuscule amount (on a per item basis) but the sustainable methods used in other countries far outweigh the additional carbon footprint, consider that manual labour rather than mechanised, a sustainable agriculture using natural fertilizers rather than industrial, and a growth friendly climate that does not need heating.

    Local produce may be good for British business, but consider the engines on that plane bringing the food over were probably made in Derby.

  30. I think there are British apples which are ripe in July. However they all have problems e.g. poor yield, poor keeping etc so no one grows them commercially. However if anyone wants to try, give it a go maybe people will pay a lot more for British apples in July.
    I don´t think I will.

  31. Ian B: “these people are promoting an ideology of both the spiritual bond between the nation’s blood and its soil, and autarky”

    I agree. The Soil Association sounds much better in German: Bodensverein.

  32. ‘We understand the economic drivers behind the supermarkets’ buying policies, but in the same way as organic food was a specialty product a few years ago but now enjoys its own sections in supermarkets, we would like to see the supermarkets having “local produce” sections, exploiting the loyalty to local producers that undoubtedly exists.’

    I can’t wait for the autarky queue in my local supermarket where I will be able to stand in line for 30 mins to receive a turnip or loaf of bread if I am lucky. Why would I possibly want choice and variety from around the world at an affordable price?

  33. “There is a difference between being able to grow something in the UK, and being able to grow enough of that something to be self-sufficient and not need imports.”

    We can grow anything we like in the UK in any quantity. It might cost a bit for oranges, bananas and coffee but don’t let that stop your bonkers friend.

  34. tomsmith
    August 14, 2014 at 6:42

    I can’t wait for the autarky queue in my local supermarket where I will be able to stand in line for 30 mins to receive a turnip or loaf of bread if I am lucky. Why would I possibly want choice and variety from around the world at an affordable price?

    You wouldn’t have to wait a week.

    It’s going back some time so I can’t remember where I read it, I may have stil been in the Army so it might have been an official document, but emergency planners work on the basis that we’re only 4 meals away from food riots. By that they mean if people thought that food supplies were going to run out tomorrow there would be riots.

  35. Bloke in Costa Rica said “The Soil Association sounds much better in German: Bodensverein.”

    Isn’t that to do with wearing pink trousers?

  36. If our food economy was structured anything like what these people want, they’d be behind a barricade armed with shotguns and on sentry duty at 3am.

    Once, people were desperate to get off the land, even when the alternative was factory work in terrible conditions – that’s how bad farming was. Now, as each generation has got further and further away from this reality, a fantasy version of this life seems to have gripped a surprisingly large part of the middle classes.

  37. ‘Bloke in Costa Rica said “The Soil Association sounds much better in German: Bodensverein.”

    Isn’t that to do with wearing pink trousers?’
    Or black footer bags?

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