Having spent his entire career with Highland Investment Company in East Kent, and retiring to live in Ash, David McEwen passed away recently aged 85, following a period of illness.
Initially working with Walter Whigham, he subsequently worked with Walter’s son-in-law, Ian Johnston, later becoming a Director of Highland Investment Company. Graduating from Wye College in the 1950s, David (Mac) McEwen built up Highland Court’s investment in fruit growing, later establishing or restructuring several fruit farms around East Kent under his management. He was an authority on apple production, being a leading supplier of Cox into East Kent Packers at Faversham, at that time Europe’s largest fruit marketing co-operative. Also in his field of expertise were blackcurrants, plums, pears and field-grown strawberries, as well as cereal crops. He developed Highland Investment Company’s considerable storage facilities at Highland Court Farm at Bridge, near Canterbury, and was instrumental in a series of changes in fruit production over his long career, including the change from trays to bulk bins, drastically remodelling older Cox trees and introducing intensive systems, being one of the industry’s leaders and most progressive growers.
Mac was involved in the early days of the Ash & District Fruit Show in Canterbury, and was a founder of the East Kent Fruit Society, being its Chairman at one stage and later its President. Never living too far from the sea, he was an enthusiastic sailor, a former Commodore of the Sandwich Sailing Club, and persuaded innumerable friends to crew for him. His horticulture never left him, serving his garden and local horticultural society in equal measures. The McEwen family tree has grown considerably from his five children and their children, who are his living legacy. For fruit growers the loss of his knowhow is immeasurable.