Kent apple grower suffers severe hail damage

A five-minute hailstorm has caused severe damage to two-thirds of grower Peter Kedge’s young apple crop on Victoria Farm in Hadlow, Kent.

The hail hit the farm on the afternoon of Saturday June 25 (2016) and caused an estimated loss of £400,000 to the business. The loss, said Kedge, is made up of some 1,800 bins of Gala, 500 bins of Cameo, 120 bins of Fuji and 700-800 bins of Bramley apples. The hail was preceded and followed by lashings of heavy rain that flooded some of the farm’s orchards.

Kedge said: “I’m gutted. It’s like being in a boxing match and being knocked down – you have to carry on. But our plans for the business will have to be put on hold for a year.”

The grower is now hoping to find a buyer for his weather-beaten apples, which are being produced to the high standards of well-known farm assurance schemes including LEAF and Assured Produce. Kedge is therefore hoping to find a processor, juicer or retailer who specifically requires high-quality fruit.

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