Apple store with a difference

Revealing 1000 varieties of the oldest, rarest (and even the world’s ugliest) apples to mark the seasonal harvest

1000 varieties of apple ar Borough Market, London

Borough Market’s annual Apple Day had an exciting make-over this year as the 1,000 year old market transformed its traditional apple display into a shiny, white modern setting – creating the first ‘real’ apple store.

To celebrate the launch of the seasonal harvest and to remind shoppers of its millennium birthday, Borough brought together the biggest ever collection of the nation’s favourite fruit in the exhibition of 1000 oldest, rarest and most loved British apple varieties.

The world’s oldest known apple, Court Pendu Plat, which was introduced by the Romans and still flourishes today, was displayed in a prestigious Perspex box whilst 999 other varieties were presented on sleek white plinths and shelving units.

Varieties included the Ananas Reinette with its distinct pineapple flavour, the unattractive Knobby Russet which, covered in knobbles, shows beauty is in the eye of the beholder with its strong, firm but delicious flesh, the Robston Pippin, a favourite of Charles Dickens, and the Victorian Adams Pearmain which recalls a bygone era with its autumnal colouring.

David Matchett from Borough Market said: “This country’s love affair with the apple is no secret – we have been eating apples for centuries. However, there are some varieties under threat and we risk losing the diversity of this delicious fruit. This exhibition is not only a celebration of the British apple but a chance for us to raise the profile of these little known varieties and campaign to save them. At Borough, we’ve always been known for the variety of fresh produce on offer. Apple Day is an extension of that.”

The festival, held every year in the Green Market, sees growers, traders and producers come together to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the much-loved fruit from seed to marketplace to plate. A selection of limited edition apple-inspired produce and hot food was available from traders including apple balsamic vinegar, apple tarts, brioches and loaves, crab apple preserves, apple cider chocolate truffles and chocolate coated toffee apples.

A packed event schedule featured traditional games and entertainment such as Borough’s famous apple peeling competition, apple bobbing, Morris dancing and a performance by local theatre company, the Lion’s Part. Chef and food writer Lesley Holdship created apple inspired recipes in the demonstration kitchen, and was on hand to answer baking-related questions.

The market’s neighbour, Southwark Cathedral, celebrated the day with a short act of harvest worship in the Market, accompanied by the Market's Choir, and a collection was made for the Robes Project, a local charity which provides winter night shelters for the homeless of South London.

For more information about Borough Market, its Traders and events please visit

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 2:45 pm News