sentennial cherry

The Best Fruit For July

The best fresh fruit on sale in July 

July is a month of subtle change. What began in the early summer in southern Europe, gradually rolls north, so we see our own fruit being produced locally or at least in our own country. The same is experienced across all our neighbours in Europe: it is a joy to experience the freshness and taste that such proximity brings. 

The highlight of July, in my mind, is the cherry season. There is nothing quite like British cherries, and particularly the quality on offer in our premium stores: such luxury, it is a crime not to take part. The abundance of soft fruit, which will continue until September is also not to be missed. The vast choice of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, currants, and even tayberries, if you are lucky, is everywhere, and with ever improving varieties and ever improving flavour. 

Still to come from the Mediterranean are the best of the stone fruit: melons, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums. Then there is the southern hemisphere citrus and top fruit, and great mangoes from the latter end of the Pakistani season. Read on for hints and tips on your favourite fruit types: 

  • Cherries: From UK, and Picota from Spain 
  • Strawberries: From UK 
  • Blueberries: From, UK, Holland, Romania, Italy, Ukraine (even Zimbabwe) 
  • Raspberries: From UK 
  • Apricots: From Spain 
  • Peaches & Nectarines: from Spain and Italy 
  • Mangoes: Sindhri and Chaunsa from Pakistan 
  • Persimmons: Triumph from South Africa 
  • Grapes: Sable and Candy Snaps, etc from Egypt and Spain 
  • Tangerines and Clementines: Nova and Clemenules from South Africa 
  • Apples: Envy and Smitten from New Zealand.

APPLE Update

The selection of apple varieties in July is slightly lower than in winter due to emphasis on the southern hemisphere supply, but quality remains excellent. Other than the standard range (Braeburn, Jazz, Pink Lady, Gala, etc), look out for Smitten and Envy from New Zealand (Envy is also grown in South Africa), which are particularly good varieties with great texture and sweetness.  

2023 European apples are still on sale in many stores, as stocks last. 


Fresh Spanish, French and Italian apricots are abundant in July and should continue to be excellent quality, though a lot depends on the skills of retailers and their growers in harvesting and selling at the right time. 


Hass avocados are now primarily from Peru with good supply from South Africa as well (also from Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe). Quality is very good with the peak of the season. The green-skin Fuerte is available here and there, as is Zutano from Peru: both lovely as lighter-textured and flavoured alternatives. 


All fresh blackberries are from UK with the big, sweet Driscoll Victoria being most common. The more tangy traditional varieties, such as Karaka Black and Lochness, are usually available in the ‘value’ packs in supermarkets.  


Blueberries continue in July to be great quality, with excellent varieties and at good values.  There are excellent British blueberries available, which continue for a long summer season. European production shifts to Holland, Italy, Romania and Ukraine, before the start of the Polish season towards the end of the month.  As a back-up, some retailers also continue to sell blueberries from Peru and Zimbabwe. 


British cherries are available in earnest during July and will dominate sales for the next couple of months. The choice and quality is excellent, despite the cool, wet conditions, and prices will start to reduce as the month progresses. The stalkless Picota cherry from Jerte Valley in Spain is a wonderful and tasty ‘value’ alternative, usually at £1 per punnet. 

FIG Update

Spanish Colar, a very succulent fig at its best, is the main variety available in July, although some Israeli figs, perhaps Black Mission, are also sold. There are often some Peruvian figs on the market, also Black Mission though often Toro Sentado as well: these will gradually diminish as the Mediterranean season takes over. 


Gooseberries are abundant in July. These are mainly the green culinary varieties which make wonderfully tasty compotes and jams. Red varieties, which are sweeter and can be eaten fresh, are also on sale in some supermarkets. 

GRAPE Update

Egypt is firmly in charge of grape supply in July, with additional fruit from Morocco, Brazil, Spain and Italy. 

All the grapes are very fresh, but should, by now, be more mature and therefore more nuanced in flavour and sweetness compared to the early harvested fruit. 

Red Grapes: Egypt provides plenty of Flame and Crimson, both standard sweet/crisp grapes, and are increasingly following up with newer varieties such as Sweet Celebration and Arra 29 (Passion Fire). Sales from Spain and Italy tend to start with sweet/firm Ralli and Itum 15, with Magenta and Timco to follow. However, there will be a much wider choice as the month proceeds as delicious flavour-grapes such as Candy Snaps and Strawberry become available. 

Black Grapes: Sable is the primary choice of black grapes from Egypt which grows a good, flavoursome example of the variety. However, increasingly, there are volumes of impressive Arra Mystic Bloom and other new varieties to add choice, and the sweet/crisp journeyman Midnight Beauty to add volume.  

Green Grapes: Most of the varieties of green grape available from Egypt, Morocco, Spain and Italy are fairly similar, being, at best, firm and sweet. Varieties mainly include Prime, Early Sweet, Arra 15, Sugraone and Superior. Look out though, for Cotton Candy, mainly from Spain, with its candy floss sweetness and flavour, and the later, quite irresistibly crisp varieties such as Sugar Crisp and Sweet Globe


Both White Marsh Seedless and the main red variety, Star Ruby, are now from South Africa and Eswatini. Some stores may also offer the pink Rose variety. Quality is excellent. 

KIWI Update

The green Hayward  kiwifruit is primarily from New Zealand and Chile, though some retailers may still have fruit from Italy. Quality will be excellent from the southern hemisphere, and perhaps a bit hit and miss from Italy.   

The choice of yellow kiwifruit is mainly the New Zealand Sungold: a very attractive fruit, with juice, sweetness, a very slight acid tang and a lovely flavour. Jintao from Chile is the alternative which tend to have slightly more acidity. 


Delicious loquats from Spain, extremely susceptibility to bruise, may be found in some independent grocery stores: very worth trying for their unique flavour, but pick them yourself to avoid the bruising. 

LEMON Update

The thick-skinned, slightly knobbly Spanish Verna has largely given way to the smoother, more juicy South African Eureka. Also look out for Seedless lemons, which are now becoming more widely available: quite useful when you want a squeeze of lemon directly into a dish. 

LYCHEE Update: 

The Mauritius variety of lychee from Mexico continues to be available in most large supermarkets. At best, this is a supremely flavoursome and luscious fruit, but try to avoid punnets with small or mixed sizes as these have less impressive taste. Often, the Mexican lychee has a distinctly perfumed flavour which is very attractive. 


South Africa now dominates supply of mandarins and quality is excellent. Most stores are selling the reliable and tasty mid-season Clemenules. More interesting from the point of view of flavour is the delicious Nova, usually sold as a tangerine on account of its slightly tough peel (nick the skin with the point of knife to open-up the peeling). It is very tasty, with great depth of flavour and an attractive texture.  

MANGO Update

June and July are not the best months for mangoes in supermarkets as the sourcing is quite fragmented across West Africa and the Caribbean, and the best varieties can only be found in independent stores. The fragmented supply results in variable quality and regular dissatisfaction for the mango aficionado. Keitt from Puerto Rica and Dominican Republic are probably the best choice, and Palmer from Brazil is fairly reliable. 

The better option is to find a cluster of South Asian grocery stores (Ilford, Tooting, Luton, Leicester, etc) where Indian or Pakistani mangoes will be on sale. Buy them by the box (usually about £10-13 per small box of 5-6 mangoes), but check the fruit carefully to avoid too much green skin or excess wrinkling/softening – some wrinkling is good, but the fruit will not keep long. The most common Indian varieties are largely finished, but tasty north Indian mangoes such as Langra and Dasheri may be available. Most volumes will be Pakistani Chaunsa, possibly some Sindhri, both of which are wonderfully sweet and alluring fruit. 

Mexican Ataulfo are also still available in various stores, e.g. Costco: delicious, but no match for Chaunsa

MELON Update

Melons in July are all from Spain or Italy and quality and choice should be excellent. The most reliably sweet types tend to be Piel de Sapo and Ivory Gaya melon (aka Sweet Snowball in Tesco; Matice in Waitrose and others). Also look out for Gwanipa (aka Sweet Tangy Twist); the various improved honeydew types (e.g. Sweet Orange Delight, Orange Candy, etc); and, for a melon with a tang, Limelon. The larger supermarkets increasingly have one or other of these in addition to the standard types.  

One of the best melons is Charantais, the favourite of the French, who take most of the early summer production from Morocco and Spain. As volumes build up in July, particularly with added production from France, some of the volume makes its way to us, if we are lucky. The best Charantais have a wonderfully delicious aroma, as well as great taste. 


In July, after a gap in supply, Navels start to appear from South Africa, while Valencia Lates from Spain, Morocco and Egypt continue through the month until they themselves are gradually replaced by the South African version.   

The South African fruit will always be slightly acidic at first, as the season starts, but gradually improves in eating quality as the acids diminish. The Spanish Valencia Late is the opposite as acids have significantly reduced into the late season which emphasises the sweetness of the fruit, though flattens the flavour: it’s a great juicing orange at this stage. 


July continues to be a wonderful time for Spanish peaches and nectarines as the production moves north. Flat peaches are also abundantly available, and their prices are reducing in most retailers: perfect for lunch boxes and as alternatives to sweets. 

Eating quality will only improve as we move into August. 

PEAR Update

In most supermarkets, the range of pears begins to reduce in July. In many stores there will only be a choice of Conference from Holland and UK (from the 2023 harvest), or Packham’s Triumph from South Africa: both are good pear varieties, though. 

With luck, you may find Waitrose and M&S stocking Forelle and Green Williams (Williams’ Bon Chrétien), and possibly Abaté Fétèl, all from South Africa or Argentina. Taylor’s Gold from New Zealand may also be found. All these varieties have excellent eating quality attributes: crisp for Forelle, soft and juicy for Williams and Taylor’s Gold, while Abaté Fétèl can be eaten crisp or soft. 


South African Triumph persimmons are to be found in most supermarkets throughout July. This is an intensely sweet and flavoursome fruit and can be eaten when soft or hard, but are most enjoyable when almost turning to jelly with brown sugar spots in the flesh. 


Probably the most flavour-packed and vibrant fruit that can be found in supermarkets, Physalis is mainly grown in Columbia and is wonderful on its own, accompanying cheese, mixed with other berries, or as an addition to desserts. 

PLUM Update

July is a month of plenty for all stone fruit and plums are no exception. Stores are full of plums from Spain and they are generally quite cheap, particularly in punnets to ripen at home. They should, on the whole, be good to eat, but it is important to ripen and soften them properly in the fruit bowl. Plums from Israel may also be found on sale, often as premium choices of improved varieties.  

For reliability, it is often worth buying the ‘ripe and ready’ options, as these plums have been selected for maturity. 

All the Spanish plums are the familiar ‘Japanese’ types of which there are numerous varieties at this stage of the season. Some to note include the impressive Black Splendor; reliably tasty Metis Oxy Solar; red fleshed Crimson Globe, among others. 

Towards the end of July, the UK season will start with early varieties such as Opal, Katinka and Juna.  British plums are ‘European’ types, being oval in shape, generally purple in colour and with soft, juicy, sweet flesh: very different from the Iberian fruit, and an abundance of joy to anticipate. 


Quality is wonderful, prices are good and choice is widespread, with all raspberries coming from UK farms and most being of new varieties which have been bred for sweetness or firmness, or both.   

If you like the more tangy traditional varieties such as Glen Ample and Glen Lyon, by looking at the punnet labels you may find them on the shelves, or try the supermarket ‘value’ packs which tend to contain the cheaper, older varieties. When in good condition, these can be lovely with a better flavour definition than the new types, though often quite acidic. 


Satsumas usually continue through-out July from South Africa and Peru. Peruvian Owari will be most common and still retains excellent eating quality, while South African Mihowase will gradually diminish, possibly being replaced by late varieties such as Bela Bela. For the satsuma fan, there is no reason to stop buying! 


Second only to cherries, the classic British summer is defined by an abundance of strawberries which continue to be great quality throughout July and August. There are so many varieties potentially on sale that it can be very confusing for shoppers. In general, and despite the dismal weather, British strawberries have been really tasty this season: long may they continue! 

©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.