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The English Apple Man


8th Jul 2022 - British Cherries are back in season!

The 2022 UK Cherry season is now 'up and running'


This week the English Apple Man had been intending to join fellow members of East Kent Fruit Society for our annual 'Stone fruit' walk, but unfortunately due to a health issue, I was not able to attend.


I thank my very good friends Norma and Brian Tompsett for stepping up and sending me a report and pictures of this excellent evening event!


This year EKFS visited Oliver Doubleday and his family business in the heart of historic fruit growing country, where Henry VIII's Fruiterer, Richard Harris chose to grow the strawberries, cherries and other fruits loved by the Tudor King at the heart of what is now recognised as The Garden of England.


In July 2018 The English Apple Man joined EKFS members on a visit to GH Dean: see link to Journal Growing Cherries in King Henry V111 Orchards

The visit to GH Dean was arranged at short notice when the planned visit to another farm in the region, had to be rearranged.


GH Dean farm a large hectare-age in the Teynham/Sittingbourne area and the visit started at their Rodmersham Farm before visiting the 'home farm' at Hempstead.





On Tuesday, there were approximately 60 people attending, and we were chauffeured round by Will Riccini and John Hinchcliffe in minibuses as it was spread over two farms, with the walk starting at Rodmersham Farm.





Below: Grace Star Cherries


Grace Star cherry is self-fertile, does not require other varieties to be pollinated.




In today's world of cherry growing, the majority of growers protect the fruit from potential rain damage by using tunnel covers. G H Dean (Blackbird) probably the only major cherry grower not using covers.


Historically GH Dean have not used covers, as they seek to exploit their local micro-climate with its strong tendency to give them dry summers and have chosen to grow their cherries without the use of covering systems.


Norma and Brian told me GH Dean will possibly be preparing to start using covers in the future.


Much restructuring has been carried out, reducing tree height by a third with little reduction in yield.


Yields are 15 to 18 tons per hectare.


EKFS members visited a concept plum orchard, which they have been working on with Scott Raffle at NIAB EMR, Oliver Doubleday has been trying to get older tastier varieties in better consistent production.


GH Dean are trialling a fast chiller bringing the temperature down to 0.5 degree c straight from the orchard prior to packing.


The Cherry grader is capable of packing 50 tonnes a day.












Norma and Brian saw a very impressive Gala orchard. And probably one of the best conference orchards around this year.



Below: Beautiful black cherries



The visit was rounded off with a super hog roast in a beautiful garden.



Blackbird Farming




This week is the Kent County Show held at the Detling Show Ground - today 8th July and Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th July.


Press release: 5 July 2022


National Fruit Show Education Programme partners with LEAF Education to showcase exciting, innovative, and interactive new fruit education area at the Kent County Show


The National Fruit Show Education Programme and LEAF Education are partnering together to host a new exciting, innovative and interactive fruit education area at the Kent County Show (8, 9 & 10th July). Using technology which includes virtual reality headsets, drones and large screens, the team will teach young people about British fruit, the horticulture sector and careers in fruit growing by giving a unique insight into the workings of a modern fruit growing business.


Samantha Smith who leads the education programme at the National Fruit Show comments: "We are delighted to be at the Kent Show, taking the message about the fantastic British apples and pears and soft fruit grown here in the UK to young people. We want to get them to taste it and to give them an understanding of where their food comes from, the different growing seasons and what happens on modern British fruit farms to grow fruit, harvest, store, pack and distribute fruit to supermarkets. We also want them to understand that there are some fantastic career opportunities in the sector and we need the brightest people to help ensure we continue to grow our own, sustainable, and healthy food supply. As well as working with LEAF Education, we will also be joined by Outfield Technologies who will be demonstrating how they use drone technology for accurate crop forecasting."


Below: Sam Smith


Sarah Calcutt, Executive Chair of The National Fruit show comments: The education team visit a number of careers events each year and sadly teachers sometimes steer their brightest students away from our stand due to their lack of understanding about the range of careers in the sector. This is a sector which is seeing huge leaps in technological advancement and we need young people with a range of skills to fill a number of roles in the future. Yes there are still the seasonal and manual jobs in the sector, but British fruit growing is seeing great advances in technology from crop forecasting to the use and use of robotics in harvesting and packing."


Jo Hatton, LEAF Education Regional Consultant in the South East says "We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with the National Fruit Show and help engage the public in the world of fruit production. The Kent County Show Society are members of LEAF Education, and as such are keen supporters of ensuring that the next generation of decision makers understand the importance of food production, farming and caring for the countryside. The new education area shows this commitment and we are delighted to be involved to inspire our future generations of the many career opportunities open to them."






Below: Minnette Batters - President National Farmers Union


Sarah Calcutt concludes: "I would also like to thank the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and the many other businesses who are supporting the education programme at the show through the donation of trees, fruit, juice, and fruit crisps. The whole British fruit industry is getting behind this education initiative and with this level of support, we are able to reach thousands of young people aged 5-18."


The National Fruit Show Education Programme is run by a small team and is funded by British fruit growers AC Goatham & Son, Avalon Produce Ltd and OnePay. It provides free education resources, classroom visits and support at careers events, providing activities and information suitable for early years up to further education.


LEAF Education works to engage, inspire, and motivate young people through experiential learning, in order to equip our future generations with a balanced and informed insight into food production, farming and the environment.





"Delighted to welcome NFU President Minette Batters to our stand this morning, showing her how we use VR to talk to young people about careers in the sector. Thanks to our education programme sponsors AC Goatham & Son Avalon Produce Limited OnePay #education #fruit #british #horticulture #apples #softfruit #careers #fiveadaythekentway




xThat is ll for this week


Take care


The English Apple Man