Two prominent organic top fruit growers from Kent and Sussex revealed to members of the BEST fruit discussion group that, after many years of struggle adjusting to the conventions of organic fruit growing, that they are now placed in a confident position for the future, with positive demand for their produce. Whilst many in their audience thought their businesses would be dead and buried, struggling with pest, disease and nutritional problems, Kent’s Paul Ward and Matthew Wilson from East Sussex are optimistic for their futures.
The commercial principles of growing fruit organically are no different from conventional production, requiring the right product of the correct specification to be produced at an affordable cost to match the requirements of customers.
These two growers use box schemes to find their customers, they use approved sprays to combat diseases and IPM techniques to tackle pests. They employ soil management techniques that nurture the root zone beneath their trees, and in Matthew Wilson’s case, use MM111 rootstock to counter competition above the root zone.
Paul Ward is using a major box scheme operating out of a depot that places English organic apples in a mixed box of produce delivered directly to consumers. Matthew Wilson, being in close proximity to Brighton has a sophisticated market on his doorstep accessed via smaller box schemes.