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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Big apple comes to Suffolk garden
Jamie's big apple

A family in Suffolk has watched a Bramley apple grow and grow in its garden until it reached four times the average size for the cooking apple.

The huge fruit weighed in at two-and-a-half pounds and 18 inches round when it was finally picked by Geoff Corston, 64, of Kettleburgh, near Framlingham.

His six-year-old son Jamie hopes to eat the Bramley in at least two apple pies.

Adrian Barlow, of English Apples and Pears, said the "absolutely huge" apple was a result of this summer's weather.

Bramleys date back to a pip planted by a girl called Mary Ann Brailsford in Nottinghamshire in 1809
The variety became established after a butcher, Matthew Bramley, bought the garden with the tree and insisted cuttings from it be named after him
Bramleys are only grown in the UK and are its best known cooking apple
Britain has 500 Bramley growers, producing about 90,000 tons of fruit a year
The biggest Bramley apple pie ever baked contained 6,500 apples and 300kg of puff pastry

Mr Corston, an electrical consultant, told the Daily Mail he had used cow manure from a next-door farm to fertilise the tree.

He and wife Janet, 43, had an anxious wait for the right moment to pick the fruit, letting it grow as large as possible before it fell and was bruised.

The apple grew on a 14-year-old tree which stands 12 foot tall and usually produces fruit weighing three-quarters of a pound at most.

Mr Barlow said the appearance of such a monster apple could be put down to the changeable English summer.

He said: "It is absolutely huge. It doesn't altogether surprise me because the growing conditions this year have been, as ever unusual."

Very juicy

Cold and wet conditions in early May meant only single blossoms were pollinated on trees rather than clusters of multiple blossoms, he said.

This led to fewer but larger fruits, he said, which had plenty of rain through the summer and so are particularly juicy.

Mr Barlow said the apple, at 480mm (18 inches) in circumference, dwarfed the average Bramley at 110mm (4.3 inches).

This year's UK commercial Bramley crop is expected to be 90,000 tons, up 40-50% on last year's harvest.

Mr Barlow added: "It's difficult to think of another product which is entirely British and so far superior to any competition."

Next week, English Apples and Pears joins forces with the Women's Institute for Bramley Apple Pie Week.

The record for the biggest apple in the UK goes to a 3lb 11oz (1.67kg) Howgate Wonder, with a circumference of 21.25 inches, grown by Kent farmer Alan Smith in 1997.

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