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Friday 9 December 2016

Bramleys secure EU protection

Declan O'Brien

Published 14/03/2012 | 06:00

The Orchard County of Armagh had reason to celebrate this week when local apple growers secured protected geographical indication (PGI) status for their Bramley variety.

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The Bramley Apple (right) will now be added to a list of more than 1,000 products already protected under EU law.

The list includes such household names as Champagne, Parma Ham and Feta Cheese.

Armagh Bramley Apples are widely used in producing tarts, pies and dumplings. There are 200 registered growers in Armagh, with 5,000-6,000ac of orchards planted to the variety in the North. There are also some registered growers in north Co Dublin.

Sam McNiece, of the Fruit Industry Federation, said he was "over the moon" with the designation.

He added growers had been working to secure PGI status for the apples for four years.

Mr McNiece said output from local growers was processed in the North by five or six small factories. In addition, apples are packed locally for retail outlets, while stocks also go for the making of cider.

The Bramley variety was originally developed in Nottingham, England, 200 years ago.

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It was first introduced into Armagh in 1855 and became popular with local growers.

The Bramley Apple designation is the latest PGI success for Northern Ireland's Agriculture Department, with recognition already secured for New Season Comber Potatoes and Lough Neagh Eels.

Reacting to the announcement, the North's agriculture minister, Michelle O'Neill, said: "PGI registration is good news for the local economy and will help local growers to market Armagh Bramley Apples domestically and further afield, and will also provide protection against imitation."

PGI status came into force in 1993 and provides a system for the protection of food names on a geographical or traditional recipe basis.

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