The more things change...

An 1839 editor-publisher-writer in England complained of the same thing some of us (at least I!) complain about in today's food markets, that they carry fewer varieties of many foods, and many are brought from far away:

Ah! what a goodly sight was Holbornhill in "my time." Then there was a comely row of fruit-stalls, skirting the edge of the pavement from opposite the steps of St. Andrew's Church to the corner of Shoe Lane. The fruit stood on tables covered with white cloths, and placed end to end, in one long line. In autumn it was a lovely sight. The pears and apples were neatly piled in [half-]pennyworths. [He describes many varieties.] Such "golden pippins" as were then sold [have gone up much in price], and the true "golden rennet" can only be heard of at great fruiterers. The decrease in the growth of this delightful apple is one of the "signs of the times"! The finest apples...for these they demand and obtain very high prices; but instead of London in general being supplied, as it was formerly, with the best apples, little else is seen except swine feed, or French, or American apples. The importations of this fruit are very large, and under the almost total disappearance of some of our finest sorts, very thankful we are to get inferior ones of foreign growth. Really good English apples are scarcely within the purchase of persons of moderate means.

-- from the entry for July 4 in The Every-Day Book by William Hone

This picture is from later, by the famous Edmund B. Leighton (1852-1922); it's called "An Apple for the Boatman." I'm guessing that apple was grown in England.