Soil Association wants to save Scottish apples

The Soil Association is backing a campaign to get Scottish growers to produce traditional apple varieties with a view to getting them stocked in supermarkets.

The idea was born last year from Catherine Drummond-Herdman, from Megginch Castle Orchard in the Carse of Gowrie, who commented, “I would love to see a return of apples growing on a commercial scale in Scotland. Local nutrient-dense food, grown sustainably in a self-sufficient manner – this will also be a means by which famers can diversify and create more income streams.” Data suggests that apple production in Scotland has declined significantly in recent years, while 70 per cent of all the apples eaten in the UK are imported.

“Apple varieties are so site specific that if someone plants a new orchard with the wrong variety, it will simply fail,” added Catherine. “Collaboration, not competition, and the sharing of ideas and information about different varieties is going to help everybody. The economies of scale work much better in a group than on your own. As well as Scotland becoming self-sufficient in growing all our eating apples, I would like to see a ‘Grown in Scotland’ mark, so that customers can be confident they’re eating apples which have genuinely been grown in Scotland.”

Group facilitator Amanda Brown, from the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, wants to see the country producing apples for its consumers like it did in the 1930s and 1940s, before the demise of the sector.

Photo caption: Scottish apple production has declined in recent years

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