From Growth to Harvest: Our Process
For nearly sixty years, Glass Brothers have been involved in everything to do with Bramley apples. As a Bramley apple distributor, we began with the local markets in Northern Ireland but soon expanded across the entire United Kingdom. Today, we are proud of the many relationships we’ve built with our customers both near and far.
We do everything ourselves at Glass Brother from overseeing our orchards to harvesting and beyond. Over nearly six decades we’ve continually refined our methods, learned new techniques, and expanded our facilities. In 1998, we even opened our very own high-tech, chilled fresh storage facility.
Not only that but we process our Bramley apples into a range of delicious products. We produce everything from apple puree to apple fillings to milled apple. All of this with a keen eye on quality to provide an end product that satisfies our customers.
Bramley apples are highly regarded throughout the UK and Northern Ireland for their characteristic flavour. This distinct taste comes from a combination of high levels of malic acid and low sugar levels. The result is an apple that is perfect for cooking.
Let’s take a closer look at our process and how we grow our delicious Bramley apples.
Like we mentioned above, we do everything ourselves at Glass Brothers.
We begin by growing our apples in our very own orchards in Armagh, Northern Ireland. All apples are grown onsite and we’ve had new apple plantings in 2008, 2014, 2018, 2019 with planting underway in 2021. Everything that happens in our orchards is carefully managed to maximise our yields and ensure quality.
We use a fully-qualified agronomist to make sure that the right products are applied to our orchards at the correct time. This includes overseeing bud development as well as managing our spray programme. By keenly observing and nurturing our product at every stage we can ensure that the quality of our Bramley apples remains consistently high. It also allows us to refine our process carefully, getting better each time.
Additionally, we use bees to help with our apple production. Bees are, of course, the best pollinators in the world, and apples need to be properly cross-pollinated while they are growing. At Glass Brothers, we know that bees are essential in creating the best apples possible. Without bees pollinating our apple orchards, our crop would be much poorer.
Once the apples are fully grown they are then harvested and stored. The harvesting season usually begins around mid-September and lasts until the end of October. Year after year we carry out this process by hand entirely by ourselves.
After harvesting, the apples are put into storage. We make sure all our harvested apples are put into storage within twelve hours. In 2017 we upgraded our storage facilities to ULO (Ultra Low Oxygen). Since then we’ve been able to keep our apples stored at 5% CO2 and 1% O2. This prevents premature ripening and maximising the final taste of our apples. We also use Smartfresh so our apples remain firm and greener for longer.
We aim to have all our harvested apples properly stored within 12 hours to ensure quality.
Just because our apples are in storage doesn’t mean we forget about them. On the contrary, we take our storage stage very seriously. In 2018, we upgraded our inspection system to a state of the art automated model. Now we can keep our apples under careful regulation by our inspection systems. We also renew our BRC Accreditation each year.
Through our HACCP system and careful monitoring, we can ensure quality Bramley apples for our customers. We don’t want to grow stale in our ways so we are committed to continually refining our methods and improving our system. That’s how we maintain the standard of our delicious products.
Our Bramley Apple Products
- Fresh Bramley Apple
- Pie Fillings
- Pulp Puree
- Aseptic Puree
- Milled Apple