Every year in the South Gippsland orchard we maintain, the apple trees prove to be the most reliable of fruit and every year the Jonathan proves to be the most reliable of varieties. The orchard is about fifteen years old and we keep the trees pruned so that ladders are not required to pick the fruit and so that they can be individually netted against the rosellas and the crows who would otherwise happily eat them all.

The Jonathan is my favourite. It is the one in the orchard that doesn’t miss a year. The one that we eat fresh in abundance and cook with the most. The one whose fruit keeps the longest in storage, where it retains its flavour and texture the best. I remember it fondly from childhood and now in middle age it contributes a delicate sweetness and character to the cider we make with it. An all round champion, for me at least. I know not everyone will share my passion. I wonder, though, whether particular apple varieties have this affect on other gardeners. What’s your favourite?