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What’s in season?

The English apples are arriving. The delayed spring this year has boosted the apple crop, so we’re now enjoying a bumper harvest.

Conventionally grown apples are always treated with pesticides and some pesticide residue will remain after washing. Read more in a Soil Association study on “Organic farming, food quality and human health.

Read more about Mole End Farms, one of Costas’ regular English apple suppliers.

Grapes already! Like apples, grapes grown non-organically are a heavily sprayed crop so organic grapes are a much better choice for us and for the environment.

June and July mean…. cherries, apricots and melons from southern Europe…and the super sweet small flat peaches (we couldn’t call them donut peaches in this shop)

Not only delicious, but grown in organic orchards so free from artificial pesticides and fertilizers.  Cherries contain high levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins, nutrients known to relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness.  They may help reduce pain from gout or arthritis.

Bees and butterflies abound in organic orchards at blossom time, and natural predators such as birds and spiders play an important role in pest control,  feasting on insects which would otherwise damage the fruit.  Cherries are also very attractive to birds, but organic growers have a number of clever strategies.

These Burlat cherries are early season cherries, so at risk from the early birds…!   Some growers place netting on the tree prior to ripening.  Some plant a “decoy” to feed the birds with something else that they like.   Mulberry trees can play this role.  The birds are attracted to the mulberries and eat that fruit leaving the cherries alone.

“Fruit that harbors bugs usually ripens sooner.  So if some of your cherries are bug eaten, they will turn red sooner than the untouched ones. The birds will go for the red, buggy ones, giving you time to get the nice fruit as it ripens”  according to Hollybrook Orchards.

Costas is something of an apricot expert and will track down the tastiest fruit.  Don’t miss them – the fresh apricot season is fairly short.  As well as being delicious, apricots are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron.

Costas often leaves the fruit in its original box, so you can see which type of apricot you’re buying and where it came from.  These are Kioto apricots from the Perpignan area of the south  of France.

Organic apricots also come from Spain and Italy.  Read about an organic Spanish apricot farm.

New season melons also now available from an organic co-operative in Sicily – Agrinova Bio.  They grow melon varieties which have good drought resistance – essential in Sicily where summer temperatures are high and rainfall very low.