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  1. Tom Savvides

Crunch time as judges pick the best apples

Now, what makes an apple tasty? Do you prefer a Gala, a Granny Smith or a Pink Lady? Or do you like experimenting with some of the newer varieties? Well dozens of farmers from across the country, including Kent, Hampshire and Essex, have been displaying their crops at the National Fruit Show. It has been taking place at Detling near Maidstone and the results of the judges are in. Tom Savvides explains.

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Apple and pear orchards welcome recent cold snap

One of the country's largest apple and pear producers - based in Kent - has welcomed the arrival of the recent winter chill following the warmest December on record.

AC Gotham and Sons says its orchards need to clock up around 700 hours at temperatures below 7 degrees to help its fruit develop in the spring.

AC Gotham and Sons orchards need 700 hours of temperatures below 7 degrees for its fruit Credit: ITV Meridian

"When flower and leaf buds are formed during the summer and autumn, growth inhibitors accumulate, preventing the buds from opening during the winter. Chilling is then required to break down these growth inhibitors and ensure the buds open at the right time of year.

"Each tree needs a specific number of chill hours below a certain temperature to break dormancy and that varies from variety to variety."

– Nigel Stewart, Technical Director at AC Goatham & Son
  1. Tom Savvides

Crunchy new apples to be grown in Kent

Now, do you like golden delicious or do you prefer a cox or a pink lady? Well the next apple to hit the shop shelves could come from the south east.

Researchers in Kent are working on a new project to develop a new variety of apple that lasts longer and suits our changing tastes.

Tom Savvides talks to Richard Harrison and Professor Peter Gregory from East Malling Research and Tony Harding from Worldwide Fruit.

NFU celebrate apple season with Kent consumers

The NFU will celebrate the English apple season with Kent consumers, with visitors being able to sample new season apples.

It is all part of NFU's campaign and petition to 'Back British Farming'.

It has been launched to highlight the decline in the country's self-sufficiency, with aims to boost production and consumption of home-grown food.

More than 1400 people and organisations have already signed the petition, including Waitrose, The Cooperative and celebrity chef James Martin.

Kent NFU chairman James Smith said, "We have had a fabulous response to the Back British Farming campaign so far from MP's, supermarkets and from members of the public. We hope to encourage many more people to sign up to our charter over the coming days."

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Orchards set for fruitful pickings

Orchards across the ITV Meridian region expect a good crop Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The cool, wet spring and summer last year meant apple orchards in Kent, Sussex, the Thames Valley and Hampshire saw a bad harvest, which could have contributed to the good crop this year as trees often compensate for a poor season by growing extra fruit the following year.

While the wet autumn in 2012 was bad for last year's harvest, it was good news for this year, because it ruled out the chance of drought which can lead to small, poor tasting fruits