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The Armagh Bramley Apple is a pick above the rest – O’Neill

24 May, 2012 - by Michelle O'Neill

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister today congratulated the Armagh apple industry on the recent award from Europe for Armagh Bramley Apples.

The famous Armagh Bramley apples have become the third product from the north of Ireland to have been granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status under EU law.

While in the Orchard County the Minister visited MacNeice Fruit to see apple growing and processing. Minister O’Neill also visited grower and packer Noel McAllister to discuss how the PGI for Armagh Bramley could be used. While at P McCann and Sons, a leading packer and processor, the Minister had the opportunity to see the impact of the considerable support provided through the Rural Development Programme’s EU Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme (PMG). P McCann and Sons have been awarded £1million since 2006 for the expansion and development of their fruit processing facilities.

Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “The importance of the Armagh Bramley Apple to the region is reflected not only in the fact that up to 1,500 local people are employed in the industry, but also that traditional events still take place, such as Apple Week, and the Apple festival in October. Tourists can take tours of the orchards, complete with Armagh Bramley apple pies, washed down with Armagh cider.

“We are justifiably proud of the quality of our locally produced food and it is encouraging to have another of our products recognised internationally. PGI registration is good news for the local economy and will help local growers to market Armagh Bramley Apples domestically and further afield and protect against imitation. It will also build consumer confidence in this product by providing reassurance of its provenance.

“I would like to congratulate the apple industry who worked with my Department to develop their application under the Protected Food Names Scheme.”

PGI status recognises the regional importance and distinctive characteristics of products, and this latest award highlights the Armagh Bramley Apple, and the growing methods in the highly fertile, silt-loam or clay-loam soils of the ‘Orchard County’ region. It is added to a list of more than 1,000 products across the EU already protected other PGIs in the north of Ireland include New Season Comber Potatoes and Lough Neagh Eels.

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