Private: Number 1


The apple arrived in Western Europe in about 600BC and may have been eaten as far back as the Stone Age. It was called Abbell by the Celts and it is believed this is where its name originates. The range of apples available in the European supermarket shelf has increased dramatically in recent times with exciting new varieties emerging on an annual basis. Exciting new varieties like Pink Lady are now vying for popularity with established favourites like Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples.

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Private: Number 2


Apricot cultivation began in China around 4,000 years ago, where the apricot grew wild around Peking, then it went to the Middle East. Alexander the Great called apricots the “plums of Armenia.” The name apricot comes from the Aram word “barocq” which dates back to the Latin word meaning “that which ripens quickly.” The Arabs carried the apricot throughout the Mediterranean, particularly to southern Spain, where they remain a significant crop to this day.

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Private: Number 3


Avocadoes have been known for many centuries. The Aztecs took seedlings to Mexico during the 13th and 14th centuries and the Inca’s introduced the plant to Peru between 1450 and 1475. Between 1601-1650 it was introduced to Jamaica and Southern Spain. It is now grown worldwide in the tropics and sub-tropics. Just a few years ago avocadoes were regarded as an expensive, gourmet exotic fruit, whereas nowadays they are very much perceived to be a fresh produce mainstream crop.

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Private: Number 4


Arguably the most popular global fruit is the not so humble banana. The fruit originated in the Far East and spread to India, Africa and the Caribbean. Its name derives from the Arabic word for “finger.” Now widely produced in the West Indies, Spain and Central America, they were first shipped to Western Europe in the 1860’s in very small quantities. They are popular for their natural sweetness and are perfect as a snack, particularly for children.

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Private: Number 5


There are two main kinds of fresh cherries, sweet and sour – sweet being the most common. It is certain that the sweet cherry was known and cultivated in Egypt about 600–700 BC. The origination of the sour cherry is unknown. During the Middle Ages, cherry cultivation became very popular – the French King Charles V planted over 1,000 trees in his palace garden because he loved the fruit so much. In the 15th and 16th centuries cherries were used for their medicinal purposes. Cherry kernels (which contain prussic acid) were usually included in medicine cabinets, or “confection boxes” as they were commonly known in those days.

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Private: Number 6


The coconut palm is considered to be the “king” of plants in tropical and sub tropical regions by the local inhabitants. It takes 6 months to grow and 1 year to ripen. As the major commercial palm of the Tropics, it is arguably the greatest money spinning crop in the world. The outer husk fibre or “coir” is widely used in ropes and matting while leaves and trunk provide local construction material.

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Private: Number 7


The Red Indians in America used to give gifts of fresh cranberries to the pilgrim families. The settlers soon discovered that, when cooked, these small berries made a delicious sauce, which became a traditional feature of the American Thanksgiving feasts and more recently European Christmas meals. Cranberries are not picked like other soft fruit as they grow on vines in flooded, marshy land. Instead, when it comes time to harvest the fruit a high mechanical machine with paddles whips up the water, which in turn dislodges the fruit. The fruit floats to the surface then the cranberries are gathered by another machine. The name cranberry is thought to come from three facts related to the crane- the flower resembles the head of a crane, the birds enjoy feeding on the berries and cranes live on similarly marshy land to that on which cranberries are grown.

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Private: Number 8


Dates have the ability to grow in very testing conditions, which has made them a staple food substance in Arabian countries. There are over 350 recognised varieties and their origin dates back 5,000 years. It is thought they originated in either Western India or the Persian Gulf. The European names come from the Latin name which means the finger-sprouting palm. Natural dates also have laxative and aphrodisiac properties.

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Private: Number 9


A native of Western Asia, figs spread at an early date to India and China. Mentioned in references in the Bible, they were well established in biblical times and later appeared in the Mediterranean being enjoyed by both the Greeks and Romans who prized them for their supposed aphrodisiac properties. There are many varieties, some pear shaped, some flat or oval. They can be green or black.

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Private: Number 10


The plant is a native of Europe and North Africa and the wild gooseberry used to grow persistently in gardens during Tudor times. Since then its flavour and size have steadily improved. The Elizabethans served cooked gooseberries as an accompaniment with roast and savoury sauces and in sweet tarts, puddings and fools. During the 19th century gooseberry growing was very popular especially in England and special “gooseberry” clubs were formed. Special gooseberry weighing machines were made for competitions to calculate the weight of one berry.

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Private: Number 11


The grape is an ancient fruit cultivated by the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. The Romans planted them on the Rhine in the second century AD then they took them to Gaul and France. The Romans first reduced the grape to a syrup to use as a sugar substitute in cooking, some of which fermented and was discovered to be an interesting drink with a subtle flavour and a strong effect. In other words- wine!

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Private: Number 12


Grapefruit are imported into Europe from hot countries such as Brazil, Cyprus, Jamaica, Morocco and South Africa where they have been cultivated for hundreds of years (in addition to European production, most notably in Spain). During the 18th century, grapefruits were known as the “forbidden fruit” by merchants trading in the West Indies which is why they are still sometimes known as Citrus Paradisi. The pink variety appeared on the European market at the beginning of the 1970’s. These are a sweeter variety than the white fleshed fruit and have become extremely popular.

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