envy apple

Nick’s Fruity Picks – wk29’20 (July)

  • Apples: Envy from New Zealand;
  • Cherries: from UK
  • Apricots: from Spain
  • Peaches & Nectarines: from Spain
  • Mango: Pakistani Sindhri
  • Raspberries: from UK
  • Blueberries: from Spain,UK and Italy
  • Melons: from Spain

APPLE Update:

July wk28’20: Apple quality is very good with the peak of the southern hemisphere season, but the range is lacking in real interest as the varieties are principally those on the shelves all year round. One point of interest is the arrival of Envy from New Zealand: a delicious Gala x Braeburn cross with crisp, sweet flesh, unfortunately, seemingly restricted to M&S and Waitrose at present. For those of patriotic tastes, there is the continued British presence of Gala in Sainsburys, and Kentish Kiss (Magic Star) and, as a cooking apple, Jonagold in Tesco.


July wk28’20: With French and Italian available as well as Spanish, now is a very good time for apricots. Eating quality seems to be consistently good, even in the punneted fruit, and there is an interesting choice of red apricots, such as Rouge Cot, as well as the standard varieties, though I don’t detect in them any improvement in eating quality.


July wk28’20: Blueberry quality remains in peak form as UK, Italian and Romanian season consolidate. There should be no excuse for poor performance from your retailer, and prices should be coming down.

CHERRY Update:

July wk28’20: Many stores are now only selling British cherries, though mainstream supermarkets are sourcing more widely from Europe. The home-grown fruit is lusciously plump and juicy, though the rain must be making life difficult for the growers, and may be impacting on sweetness levels: more sunshine needed! Often overlooked is the Picota cherry from Jerte Valley in Spain, which is sold as a value option being stalkless and with a relatively large stone: don’t be put-off, as the flavour and sweetness are excellent (a bargain at £3.96/kg equivalent).

GRAPE Update:

July wk28’20: Harvest of Egyptian grapes is pretty much over, but stocks will be in sale for some time to come. The Egyptian range has improved a lot to include red and black varieties and most stores are selling Flame Seedless and a very flavoursome example of the popular black Sable. The European season is also getting underway with the first red Ralli and black Midnight Beauty in some stores, which may have a bit of a tang for the first week or so. Look forward to more and more choice over the next month or so! Mexican Summer Royal is still in M&S and Tesco.


July wk28’20: All grapefruit are now from South Africa and in some larger Waitrose ans Sainsburys stores the full White-Pink-Red range is available. Quality is at its best: juice, tang, sweetness and bags of flavour.


July wk28’20: There is a pretty simple choice of mandarins now that the early season varieties from South Africa have passed: Clemenules or Nova. Both are in great shape for eating quality, with Nova perhaps the most interesting, though difficult to peel (watch out for retailers such as Tesco who use the same packaging for both varieties).

MANGO Update:

July wk28’20: With Indian Kesar declining, Pakistan has now become the main source of deliciously sweet South Asian mangoes with Sindhri and, increasingly, Chaunsa. I haven’t seen any in supermarkets, so you will need to venture into local ethnic groceries to find them by the box: well worth the effort. Otherwise, the choice is mainly Keitt from a number of West African and Caribbean sources: always with potential to be good, but so often hit and miss, which is a pity.

MELON Update:

July wk28’20: As the summer unfolds, Spain and Italy provide a widening choice of melons beyond the standard range. Look out for Charantais in M&S; Ivory Gaya (aka Sweet Snowball in Tesco, Matice in Waitrose, Pintora in M&S); Gwanipa (aka Sweet Tangy Twist in Tesco); Limelon in M&S; and various improved Honeydew types such as Sunkiss (Tesco) and Orange Candy (M&S/Waitrose). Many of these are newish varieties with improved eating quality, although you could argue the opposite for most Charantais sold in supermarkets. Otherwise, the standard melons are in peak condition and should have good eating quality at decent prices.

ORANGE Update:

July wk28’20: Spanish, Moroccan and Egyptian Valencia Lates (and variants Midknight, Maroc Late) continue to be the main oranges on sale. These will seem quite sweet at the moment as their season ends, and are great for juicing. However, increasingly, South African Navels are on sale which are a finer eating orange, though may have a slight acid tang for the next week or two.


July wk28’20: All peaches and nectarines are still from Spain, whether yellow or white-fleshed or flat. The eating quality at the moment is quite consistent, bordering on excellent at times. Cheaper punneted options have been enjoyable, but for a greater chance of flavour and sweetness, buy the larger fruit, particularly the ripe-and-ready-to-eat options.

PEAR Update:

July wk28’20: Supermarkets seem generally to have quite a restricted range of pears on sale. It is easy to find Dutch Conference and South African Packham’s Triumph, but others are a bit sparse. For varieties offering a little extra, try M&S, Waitrose and Morrisons for sweet, crisp Forelle (without colour in Morrisons); M&S, occasionally Waitrose, has Taylor’s Gold and you may see D’Anjou and Green Williams here and there. My choice: crisp Forelle and flavoursome Packham’s Triumph.

PLUM Update:

July wk28’20: While many of the cheap punnets of plums are very hit and miss for varieties and eating quality, there are plenty of excellent options in the ripe-and-ready-to-eat or more premium packs. Black Splendor is impressive, though with a slight tangy acidity; Metis Oxy Solar is reliably tasty and Tasty Sweet is, well, very sweet, even when still firm.


July wk28’20: Raspberries on sale are all from UK growers and continue to be wonderful quality at reasonable prices. Pretty much all the choice is of improved varieties that are either firm or sweet or both, which satisfies most people. It is only an issue if you like your raspberries to have that wonderful combination of sweetness, flavour and tanginess of old. Usually these are in the ‘value’ packs but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the more traditional varieties: pity. (It’s the same story for blackberries).


July wk28’20: Satsumas are still on sale, mostly from Peru, variety Owari. The quality is still very good, but sales will be diminishing by now. There is still the odd sample of South African Mihowase on sale, very much at the end of its season. Interestingly, Morrisons are selling a variety called Aoshima, also from South Africa, which is a late-maturing variant of Owari and very tasty.


July wk28’20: As with other berry fruit, all strawberries are now from UK farms and are plentiful in the shops. The wet weather can’t have been easy for growers, and my personal observation is that sweetness levels have dropped in comparison to earlier in April/May, which makes awareness of variety more beneficial: Driscoll Zara, Majestic and Sweet Eve seem to have the best chance of satisfaction.

©Good Fruit Guide 2020. 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.