The Best Fruit for April

April continues the theme of March with the challenge for the fruit industry as old seasons close and new seasons start. Early varieties have a freshness and tang not to everyone’s taste and retailers struggle with quality of long stored product to stretch seasons. It means grapes can be straggly, mandarins lose their zing, plums, peaches and nectarines become cloying and dense, cherries lack succulence and good mangoes are hard to come by. So, it is all the more important to take care in buying, as there are still some lovely exceptions as we await the abundance of our own spring and of the southern hemisphere autumn.

  • Oranges: Navels from Spain; Tarocco from Sicily
  • Pears: Williams, Packhams and Qtee from Argentina and South Africa
  • Mandarins: Murcott, Nadorcott, Tangold & Orri from Spain & Morocco
  • Grapes: Sable and Candy Hearts from Chile
  • Blueberries from Morocco and Spain
  • Raspberries from Morocco, Spain and Portugal
  • Apples: Envy, Smitten, Opal, Lolipop, Magic Star from UK and Europe
  • Mangoes: Ataulfo from Mexico; Kent from Peru.

APPLE Update:

Stores are full of good quality European apples, but the choice of mainstream varieties may diminish in April as last year’s stocks are depleted. Braeburn, Jazz, Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious are unchanged,  and there are plentiful supplies of British and European Gala, although British Cox and  Egremont Russet will become scarce.

Newer varieties with long-storage life are on sale in most retailers, particularly in larger stores. These vary according to retailer, but will include: Smitten; Rocket; Kanzi; Junami; Lolipop; Redpop; Cameo; Opal; Envy; Honeycrisp and Magic Star. All are worth trying a for something a little different. Meanwhile, look out for new southern hemisphere arrivals such as Gala (South Africa, Argentina) and Cox (New Zealand).


April is generally one of the gaps in supply of fresh apricots. Those that you do find are late varieties from South Africa which may be good for culinary uses, but will struggle to satisfy the fresh fruit palate.


Predominant supplies of Hass are from Spain and Israel with new East African and South African seasons starting to supply the UK, though there are still stocks from Latin America as well. With the South African season, the green-skinned Fuerte will also be available as an alternative for lighter texture and flavour compared to Hass (often in Waitrose).


Fresh blackberries from Morocco, particularly the big, sweet Driscoll Victoria will become increasingly available in April. The more tangy Tupi, Kiowa and Ark45 from Mexico and Guatemala make up volumes while the southern European season gets established.


Morocco dominates as the supplier of blueberries in April, with Chile diminishing but Spain also increasing.

The fruit from Morocco should be excellent quality, with a range of new varieties with great texture and sweetness. The same applies to Spanish blueberries, though with a slightly different varietal mix. Chilean fruit is likely to struggle for quality and shelf life and should only be used with caution.

CHERRY Update:

Cherries continue to be available from Chile and Argentina, with very late or long-storage varieties such as Kordia and Sentennial. The quality of the fruit should be acceptable, but to my mind, the taste properties of this late-stored fruit tends to lack the vitality of fresher cherries:  proceed with this in mind!

FIG Update:

Evita and Parisian are excellent from South Africa: make sure they are as dark as possible with uniform colour and without light patches to get the best eating quality. Toro Sentado from Peru, also a good variety, is the choice of some supermarkets.

GRAPE Update:

As April and May progress, there are often disappointments on opening grape punnets. Either there are multiple bunches, or they are straggly; or the stems are like sticks; or the berries are loose or have mould spots, and the textures become soft. Behind the scenes, grape supply and quality gradually fragments and one way or another, there is a greater chance of mixed quality which can be tricky for consumers.

Essentially, it is all about seasons, varieties, growing locations and storage, none of which are perfectly aligned in April and May. Peru and South Africa is almost at the end of supply; Chile and India are near the end; we are relying on either late varieties or those that can store for many weeks; and there are no new seasons starting just yet. Brazil will supply a limited amount of new season grapes shortly, but otherwise we will await the start of the Mexican and Egyptian season in May before there is much change.

The best approach is to buy with your eyes. There are definitely good quality grapes to be found and some lovely varieties but be cautious of very dry stems; any sign of mould; berries that look tired or wrinkled or variable in colour; and any dull colouration.

Red grapes: The most common red grape on sale in April and May will be Crimson which stores well and offers a decent sweet and crisp eating experience. Other similar varieties are Ralli, Jack’s Salute and Krissy, and late season Allison and Scarlotta: these mostly have better texture than Crimson, but not the ability to store for so long.  One of the best sweet-and-crisp varieties is Sweet Celebration which is often very good from Chile. Also from Chile, look out for ‘flavour’ grapes such as Candy Hearts and Muscat Beauty, and a new variety called Arra Passion Glow.

Black grapes: The flavour-packed Vitoria from Brazil continues alongside delicious Sable from South Africa and Chile. The standard black grapes will be a range of varieties such as Midnight Beauty, Joybells, Melody and Sweet Joy, the latter two being the pick of the bunch. Otherwise, look out for Maylen (or Iniagrape-One) from Chile: a soft grape, but very sweet and juicy. 

Green grapes: India will provide much of the green grape during the next couple of months which will mostly be Thompson  but also Arra 15 (aka Arra Sweeties). These are good grapes: sweet, slightly tangy and juicy, but can be rather unexceptional. A good rule of thumb is to look for bolder berries with a nice yellowish straw colour. The Candy Floss grape, Cotton Candy is good from Chile and the crispy, crunchy sweet new varieties such as Sweet Globe, Sugar Crisp and Autumn Crisp are the best option where available.                     


Pink grapefruit from USA (Florida Pink) and Sunrise (aka Star Ruby) from Israel continue to be the best grapefruit available. Many stores are supplied from Spain, Turkey, and Cyprus, which tend to have slightly less density and more acidity.

KIWI Update:

All green Hayward kiwifruit on sale continue from Italy or Greece. The sweeter yellow kiwifruit will start to arrive from southern hemisphere sources.  Sungold from New Zealand, a lovely, sweet-tropical option, will become the main variety available. Look out, though, for Skelton from South Africa and Jintao from Chile as good alternatives.

LEMON Update:

Towards the end of April there is often a significant change in variety of lemon from Spain, our main supplier to the UK. The switch is from Primofiori to Verna, as volumes and quality of the former diminish. Verna is less attractive due to its thicker-skin, lower juice content and more knobbly appearance, but is still a good lemon.

LYCHEE Update:

There are no lychee  available in supermarkets at the moment as we await the start of the Mexican season.


Orri, Nadorcott and Tangold  from Spain and Morocco (and Israel for Orri) continue through April, but it is starting to get late for these varieties. These are lovely, deeply flavoured easy-peelers for the late season which will be very satisfying and enjoyable, but as April progresses, the acids in the fruit diminish which reduces the depth of flavour, but emphasises the sweetness. Egyptian Nadorcott may also be available.

Also look out for the last varieties of the seasonal calendar which include varieties such as Mor and Murcott: both are lovely, sweet and dense but with slightly tough peel.

MANGO Update:

Of the sea-freight varieties, Kent from Peru is still the best mango choice and quality should remain good. We will also see Brazilian Keitt and Palmer, and early Costa Rican Tommy Atkins and Keitt. Palmer is usually the better choice due to flavour, while the Keitt may have a ‘early-season’ background acidity as it becomes established, though is a good fleshy variety.

More interesting is Ataulfo, the favoured mango of Mexico (M&S, Costco, Asda, independents). This smooth, fragrant mango is wonderful at its best, though it can suffer from muted flavour due to long-distance transportation: try to pick well coloured examples, and don’t worry about a little wrinkling in the fruit bowl.

More exciting is the start of the Indian mango season with Alphonse, Kesar and Badami. These are exceptional mangoes for flavour: among the best in the world. They should be in good South Asian groceries, and it is possible to buy them on-line, though at an elevated price (in comparison, a box of 6 Ataulfo is £9.99 in Costco and £8 in Asda).

MELON Update:

General quality of melons from Central and South America remains good with some reasonable eating quality across all varieties. Pick of the bunch remains the Ivory Gaya (aka Matice in Waitrose, Sweet Snowball in Tesco) and Piel de Sapo which have greater reliability.

ORANGE Update:

Navels, mostly Lane-Lates, are still delicious and the best of the commonly available eating oranges (from Spain, Morocco and Egypt). Towards the end of the month, the ultra-late Navels such as Powell and Chislett will appear in main supermarkets: equally delicious.

The best eating orange available continues to be Tarocco blood orange from Sicily. Also available as pigmented oranges are Sanguinelli (Spain) and Sanguinello (Italy), though these are not quite so sublime in their eating quality.

For copious and tasty juicing, look out Salustiana, a ‘blond’ orange from Spain.

The late season variety, Valencia Late, has also arrived on shelves. This is a good, versatile orange, though not as fine as the Navel. There may be a slight acid tang in early fruit (from Spain, Morocco and Egypt). Check labels carefully as some supermarkets use the same packaging for Navels and Valencias, though they are quite different fruit.

PAPAYA Update:

Lovely papaya continue from Brazil, mostly Sunrise, but Solo, previously most common variety, is also available in some stores.


Peaches and nectarines from South Africa and Chile are into their late season and have quite a dense texture.

Sometime in April, we will see the first northern hemisphere peaches in the form of Florida Prince from Egypt: fresh and succulent, with a tang.

PEAR Update:

Rocha and Conference are both good pears that can be eaten hard or soft and can reliably be found in most stores. Other European pears that may be available include Angélys, Xenia and Migo.

The southern hemisphere season is Green Williams (Williams’ Bon Chrétien), Red Williams, Packham’s Triumph and Qtee which are on sale in most stores and have a lovely freshness. Williams are fragrant, soft pears with a short shelf-life, so need to be eaten quickly. Packhams are also eaten when softened, but have slightly more dense flesh, while QTee has good storage life and can be eaten while fairly hard, though is better with a bit of softness.  


There are virtually no persimmons on sale at the moment, except some late Israeli Sharonfruit, as we await the South African season.


Not many supermarkets regularly sell this wonderfully flavoursome fruit (except Sainsbury’s). It is mostly from Columbia and has a huge, unique flavour and splendid of acid tanginess.

PLUM Update:

Delightful FlavorKing may continue on sale in some stores but is at the end of its season. Other mid-to-late season plums from South Africa are very good, somehow more reliable in ripening than earlier varieties. Particularly look out for Laetitia, African Delight and Ruby Star.

Angelino is on many shelves as well and is a sign of a season entering its last stages: a common, firm-fleshed, though rather uninspiring variety. There will be quite a number of other late varieties that have been recently developed to be better than Angelino, but all will have a degree of density of the flesh.


April brings plentiful good quality raspberries from Morocco, Portugal and Spain. The quality and taste of this fruit is wonderful.


There are no satsumas on the market in early April, but the South African season will start shortly with delicious plump, sweet and tangy fruit.


The English season will become more productive in April, but the main supply is still from Spain. There is a plentiful supply of good quality fruit in all stores, mostly with decent flavour. As the weather improves, the flavour of strawberries will only get better.

©Good Fruit Guide 2024. Recommendations on fruit varieties and types with the very best taste are personal to the editor of Good Fruit Guide, and do not attempt to be exhaustive or supported by verifiable consumer research.  The highlighting of fruit with the very best taste in the opinion of the editor is not intended as a judgement on the taste of varieties and types of fruit not mentioned.