How did "Apple Day" begin?
BCOG is most grateful to Arthur Davies (a retired Somerset fruit grower) for sending us the following information, taken from a letter he wrote in July 2010 to the Editor of The Fruit Grower magazine in Kent.
“In 1980, the then Chairman of the Apple and Pear Committee of the NFU, Dan Neuteboom, set up the Apple Action Committee, which I chaired. Its purpose was to publicise English apples at a time when we were suffering from an excess of second class fruit from France, which was pulling down our prices. We were ably assisted by members of WFU such as Theresa Wickham and Margaret Charrington and at the same time started the market surveillance scheme.
We took the first NFU demonstration, of more than 100 apple growers, to Brussels on June 3rd 1980. This was followed by other demonstrations and apple giveaways across the country.
This was when Apple Day was established: many of us opened our farms to the public that October and the tradition has continued and been copied by many general farmers since.
We had massive publicity in all the media, assisted in the West Country by Anthony Gibson from the NFU and Chris Rundle, Agricultural correspondent of the Western Daily Press. This resulted in a 40% reduction in French imports.
Unfortunately, the effect was not long lasting and large numbers of growers have gone out of business. However, Apple Day still continues, and this coming autumn will see its 31st birthday!”
(Cutting from the Western Gazette of October 1984. Kindly supplied by Arthur Davies)