Bramley apples

Bramley apples

In two centuries nothing has come close to knocking the Bramley off its perch as Britain's favourite cooking apple.

Brian Tompsett is a man who knows why, having spent the last nine years managing family fruit farm Alan Firmin in Kent. Supplying 90 per cent of Tesco apples, his crop includes 70 hectares of apples and pears, 28 per cent of which are Bramleys.

'The trees are planted aged three. For the first year we just let them grow 
and remove any crop they may produce. By the fourth or fifth year, they are approaching their maximum yield. The trees would hopefully have a commercial life of at least 15 to 20 years, but I've still got some orchards 20 to 30 years old.' Today Bramleys grow in orchards with trees not much higher than 7ft for easy picking.

'When we harvest, we pick off the biggest fruit first, sell them and return for a further picking later in the month.'

Brian's Bramleys recently won an award at the National Fruit Show, while Brian is currently Tesco Grower of the Year.

'The first award was for our eco-friendly storage system. Thanks to clever technology, we can put some of the harvest away and supply Bramleys all year.'

Bramleys cook well due to their high acidity. 'In pies, they break down perfectly. My mother liked to cut the cores out, and baked the apples filled with brown sugar, dried fruit and nutmeg — delicious.'

Look out for the bicentenary logo on products. Tesco also sells Rubens, Cameo, Kanzi, Cox and Braeburn apples.

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