Whilst Major Bramley and his cohort of companions (including Miss Glamley and Professor Utterly Fruity) have appeared regularly over the years in our Fruit Focus magazine, on our Christmas cards, in calendars and in a host of other places, since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, and much of our communication became digital, some of the places Major Bramley would normally be seen have disappeared.
So, to redress the balance, I thought I would use this blog to look at 23 years of Major Bramley and at his varied life and adventures with Fourayes.
When Major Bramley first appeared in 1998, he wasn’t a Major at all. At that point he was Lord Bramley, the ‘Lord of all apples’. Lord Bramley had been created to spearhead a marketing initiative that saw us exhibiting Bramley apple-based products in Germany. Because the Bramley apple is a uniquely British fruit, it was only natural that the figure representing it should be uniquely British too.
Despite the nearest part of Europe being less than 21 miles away from the Kent coast which, in turn, is just a few miles away from Fourayes Farm, the apple was little-used in mainland Europe. Because of its unique characteristics, the Bramley apple really is the perfect apple for cooking so, in 1998, Lord Bramley took his first tentative steps towards introducing the miraculous Bramley to a European audience.
Reaction to Lord Bramley was excellent. He soon won a place in the hearts of our staff and customers too and so, little by little, he started to appear in other areas of the Fourayes business.
The occasion when Lord Bramley became a Major is lost in the mists of time but, by 2006 records show that he had become the military man we see today.
Spring 2004 Fruit Focus was launched – a Fourayes news round-up publication, distributed throughout each year to customers and Fourayes staff. One of the regular highlights has been the cartoon strip featuring Major Bramley and, more often than not, his unrequited efforts to woo the delightful Miss Glamley.
Where news headlines, and food trends went, so too did Major Bramley, often accompanied by the sagacious Miss Glamley.
The Major Bramley character evolved: his intentions, in any of the endeavours he embraced, were always of the very highest calibre and with the most enthusiastic attitude, accompanied by an earnest demeaner, humility and a good sense of humour. Despite that, Major Bramley’s efforts were rarely rewarded, and, on many occasions, it was Miss Glamley who was to turn things around.
Fast forward to the year 2014 when Fourayes created the unique Utterly Fruity product – the first time that fresh Bramley apple could be introduced into baked goods, where issues such as moisture migration had made it previously impossible.
This new character joined Major Bramley – Professor Utterly Fruity. Miss Glamley was seen less and less until, as in any good Soap Opera, she disappeared altogether; presumably now living a trouble-free life, liberated from the challenges often created by Major Bramley.
The new team of Major Bramley and Professor Utterly Fruity were inseparable. Major Bramley often came up with great ideas, but it has been Professor Utterly Fruity who uses his huge intelligence to create new ways to achieve impossible goals – just as Fourayes Utterly Fruity has done for Bakeries. (If you see any hot-cross bun that contains apple pieces, in any multiple retailer that will be Fourayes Utterly Fruity).
Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic saw printed publications such as Fruit Focus succumb to the strange business communication changes that the virus created. No longer was it sensible to send publications to peoples’ offices because, in many cases, their offices were now their homes.
Throughout, however, Major Bramley has always been a feature of the Fourayes Christmas cards, at least since 2006.
In his festive role, amongst other things, Major Bramley has worn Christmas jumpers, bungled mistletoe opportunities, ice skated and dressed as a pantomime dame.
This year, Major Bramley has single-handedly solved the labour issues we’ve all heard about in the News, by co-opting into the production area, a veritable army of Santa’s elves. I wonder how that will work out? I wonder also what Major Bramley and the cerebral Professor Utterly Fruity will be doing in 2022 and beyond. One thing is certain, whatever adventures they have, it will always be with a sense of humour and a kind heart.
Managing Director, Fourayes; Vice Chairman of British Apples & Pears and Fruitician