Thanks to the growing popularity of British grown apples and pears, family owned AC Goatham and Son are in the process of extending their successful farm in Hoo.
Work on the farm’s £9million expansion started this week as they began clearing old orchards, which have come to the end of their 25-year lifespan. These orchards will be replaced with new ones containing more planting per hectare with trees that are trained to grow taller using a frame system.
This season the company has produced more than 150 million apples and 50 million pears to suppliers such a Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
Partner Ross Goatham said: “To successfully compete with overseas growers, the UK fruit industry has had to change significantly in recent years.
"Essentially we need to grow more fruit per hectare, which is of a consistent quality and which can be successfully stored for longer to increase the length of the season in the supermarkets.”
The planned expansion includes doubling the fruit cold storage and packing capacity at Flanders Farm with the new buildings hopefully ready for the 2016 growing season.
By keeping the fruit in cold storage it extends the season for British fruits in supermarkets, reducing the need for imported fruit.
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