The Guardian

When Russia banned imports of Polish apples in July, politicians and the public laughed off the move by posing with the forbidden fruit on Twitter. Everyone from the head of the national security bureau to TV presenters posted gleeful photos, making the “Eat apples to annoy Putin” campaign a social media hit.

Six weeks later, after the Kremlin extended its ban to all European fresh produce, from Greek peaches to German gherkins and Lithuanian cauliflowers, eating apples as a political statement is wearing thin. “In the beginning there was a slight growth in consumption, but now it has gone back to normal,” says Jolanta Kazimierska, head of the Polish Fruit Union.

Last year Poland sold €840m (£670m) of produce to Russia, including a quarter of all its apples – 1m tonnes of golden delicious, gala, champion and others. Now the trees are heavy with unsold fruit, leaving some growers on the brink of bankruptcy, according to Kazimierska. “We are just praying that this situation improves because if it does not, we are facing real disaster.”

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