Apples varieties are selected for a variety of traits including flavour and appearance; one important consideration is when the apples ripen. From a purely pragmatic point of view it’s useful to have apples that ripen early and late because less pickers are required at any one time, and a crew of pickers can get a month or two of work as the various types of apples ripen and become ready to pick. Lucaston Park have a crew of around 25 pickers working on their first apples of the season, which would normally be Akane, but as these were damaged by the hail conditions earlier in the season, Fuji apples are the first off the trees this year. Fuji is a relatively new apple, developed in the 1930s in Japan but only grown commercially from 1962. It’s a cross between the infamous Red Delicious (anything but!) and the Ralls Jennett, but unlike the Red Delicious it really is delicious – and has the added bonus of storing extremely well. However, it has a tendency to ripen unevenly, which is why you’ll see reflective material laid underneath the Fuji trees near the Lucaston Park packhouse – this reflects the light and heat up towards the apples so they ripen on the bottom as much as the top!