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012016110720161108 (R4)

Symbolically and nutritionally, the apple has played a significant role in human life for millennia. From its origins in Kazakhstan, its spread along the old spice roads and into mythology, it is now an all-year round supermarket staple.

In this four-part abridgement of his new book, Pete Brown follows the cycle of an orchard's year to illuminate the hand-in-hand-history of humanity and our most familiar fruit. Along the way, he turns his hand to the three most labour-intensive jobs in the orchard: grafting, picking and pruning.

Pete Brown has written several books on food and drink, including Man Walks into a Pub, Three Sheets to the Wind, and Shakespeare's Local. He is a judge for the Great Taste Awards and the Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards, and is a frequent contributor to the Food Programme.

Written and read by Pete Brown

Abridged by Laurence Wareing

Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Pete Brown explores the origins of the apple - a fruit held in high regard for millennia.

022016110920161110 (R4)

Writer Pete Brown follows the cycle of an orchard's year to illuminate the hand-in-hand history of humanity and our most familiar fruit.

From its origins in Kazakhstan, its spread along the old spice roads and into mythology, the apple is now an all-year round supermarket staple. Changing consumer tastes, and supermarket insistence upon 'perfect fruit', places huge stress upon growers. It also affects the ways in which scientists develop new apple varieties - a typical apple test trial can take twenty to twenty-five years, when, after vigorous testing, of the initial twenty-thousand seeds planted an average of six new commercial apple cultivars will emerge. But will the public like one them enough to change from buying Gala, Jazz or Pink Lady?

Pete Brown has written several books on food and drink, including Man Walks into a Pub, Three Sheets to the Wind, and Shakespeare's Local. He is a judge for the Great Taste Awards and the Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards, and is a frequent contributor to the Food Programme.

Written and read by Pete Brown

Abridged by Laurence Wareing

Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Pete Brown investigates the rise and fall of the Red Delicious, America's favourite apple.

032016111020161111 (R4)

Writer Pete Brown follows the cycle of an orchard's year to illuminate the hand-in-hand history of humanity and our most familiar fruit.

From its origins in Kazakhstan, its spread along the old spice roads and into mythology, the apple is now an all-year round supermarket staple. Customer demand means that the fruit industry must keep up-to-date with new trends and scientific discoveries. To see some of the work being done, Pete visits East Malling Research Station in Kent, the UK's biggest and most influential horticultural research station, which has been operating for over a hundred years. Then, keen to tune back into the natural rhythms of an orchard, he heads to Somerset to pick apples at Avalon Orchard, on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor.

Written and read by Pete Brown

Abridged by Laurence Wareing

Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Pete Brown visits East Malling, the UK's most influential horticultural research station.

042016111120161112 (R4)

Writer Pete Brown follows the cycle of an apple orchard's year to better understand the hand-in-hand history of humanity and our most familiar fruit. From its origins in Kazakhstan, its spread along the old spice roads and into mythology, the apple is now an all-year round supermarket staple.

As the season turns from autumn to winter, Pete discovers the importance of cold dry weather and dormancy in the life cycle of an apple tree; then travels to Herefordshire to learn the careful art of tree pruning.

Written and read by Pete Brown

Abridged by Laurence Wareing

Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Pete Brown discovers the importance of winter dormancy in the life cycle of an apple tree.