UK Grower Awards

Article taken from the Horticulture Week

Top-Fruit Grower of the Year:
Winner: AC Goatham & Son

Kent-based AC Goatham & Son is one of the largest top-fruit growers in the UK, supplying some of the country’s most well-known retailers.

The family-business is responsible for an impressive 54 per cent – 1.62 million cases – of the homegrown apples and pears supplied to Sainbury’s.  It is also one of Morrisons’ big clients and is this season (2013/14) expected to deliver some 350,000 cases of high-quality, graded fruit to the supermarket.

A strong programme of investment has seen a further 79.7ha planted during 2013, taking the total area farmed across 14 sites to 716ha.

Despite its multi-million pound turnover, AC Goatham remains a family-run firm with family values.  It cares for other growers in the Kent region, so much so that it has 20 grower partners that supply AC Goatham with an additional 40,500 bins of top fruit.

Fully aware of how tough it is for top-fruit growers to make adequate returns on their investments, the company cuts out the middleman and purchases this additional fruit directly from growers’ orchards – reducing small businesses’ overdrafts at a critical time of year for the industry.

AC Goatham, which is run by Clive Goatham – the son of the firm’s founder, Arthur – and Clive’s son Ross, also makes sure that it engages with the local community that has supported the firm since it was first set up in 1947.  For this reason, its Gore Farm site is open to the public 362 days a year and is an ambassador site for the Kent Wildlife Trust.  It greets some 120,000 visitors each year, educating the public on modern food production.

The grower has hosted more than 40 farm visits over the past five years, including last year’s Open Farm Sunday and National Apple Day events.  It is also a sponsor of the annual National Fruit Show, the fruit from which is transported to public venues for educational events.

Finalist
DJ Moor
East Malling Research

Sponsor
Agrovista UK is the leading supplier of agronomy, consulting and product supply to professional fruit growers, offering crop protection, nutrition, agronomy and growing systems as well as professional business advice and services.

 

10 March 2014

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