Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Brogdale and the National Fruit Collection

It's been nearly a year since I briefly described the searchable catalog of apples in the National (UK) Fruit Collection.

This database profiles nearly 2,000 apple varieties, the most extensive available online. It had been hosted by Brogdale Farm, in Kent.

Since then, Brogdale and the Collection have reached a new relationship. The National Fruit Collection, including the catalog, is today curated and administered by the University of Reading.

This is hardly a parting of ways, as the collection itself remains at Brogdale Farm, but the Collection now has its own web site (where there is more news).

Several things are, at least temporarily, lost or changed through the transition. Reading is developing "a new online version" of the database, and at this writing one can search only for apple varieties. This version is a little easier to use than the one available at Brogdale last year.

Brogdale still has its own web site (or two), which provides news of the many events and activities offered there. Sadly some of the research about fruit seem to be gone, including a charming history of fruit in England. You can still read that essay here, however, courtesy of the Internet Archive.

I've revised my original post about this extraordinary resource to fix broken links and add this new context; read it for a less disjointed description.

Update: One improvement in the new NFC database is that you can link directly to individual listings within it. See, for example, the NFC's description for Hubbardston Nonesuch (which I also review.)


  1. Even if some of the fruit research is gone, you can still find an exhaustive treatise on the apple in Joan Morgan's wonderful book The New Book of Apples available at

    She gives a wonderful history lesson as well as insights into the British apple trade, and tasting reports for the entire apple collection at Brogdale.

  2. Also really good to see a fully fledged specialist plant centre back at Brogdale..the guys there helped me start my mini orchard.


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