On Monday 19th July, The English Apple Man experienced some degree of normality as the BIFGA summer farm walk took place at Giles Cannon's delightfully scenic Roughway Farm at Plaxtol high on the Greensand Ridge.
It was the EAM's first venture out to a 'LIVE EVENT' since Lockdown took away any sense of normality!
Below: Kevin Workman Agrii
BIFGA would like to acknowledge the very generous support being given towards this event by:
Agrii, The Crossways, Alconbury Hill, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 4JH.
Contact: Kevin Workman firstname.lastname@example.org
BIFGA Chairman John Breach opened proceedings by welcoming members and introducing Guest Speakers
4.00pm Presentations by:
Mr Mark White, the Groceries Code Adjudicator
Mark White has pledged to level the "uneven playing field" for suppliers after being appointed as the UK's second groceries code adjudicator (GCA).
White has succeeded Christine Tacon, the UK's first GCA who was appointed to the role in 2013. White has been acting as deputy GCA for the past three months. He said: "This is a significant time for the groceries sector and I am delighted to be in a role where I can play a part in ensuring fairness for those who supply our major supermarkets. White said a great deal of progress had been made since the introduction of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice in 2009 and by Tacon during her seven-year stint in the role.
Ms Sarah Calcutt, British Apples and Pears Ltd.
Sarah updated BIFGA members on the promotional plans for British Apples & Pears during the coming 2021-2022 season
Mr Kevin Workman, Agrii (our main sponsor for this event)
Kevin Workman remined BIFGA members of the various services offered by Agrii
Below: left to right; Mark White, and Sarah Calcutt
Roughway Farm is also the location of the very first English Apple Man Journal, way back on 14th August 2009.
Today Roughway Farm produces apples, raspberries, plums, cherries and hazel (Cob) nuts, on 250 acres near Plaxtol on the Greensand Ridge. Currently run by Giles Cannon, but first established in the early 1950's.
In addition to the land at Roughway, land is also rented from Fairlawn & Tregothnan estates and several smaller landowners. Most cold storage and some food service orders are done at the Farm, while Supermarket packing is carried out elsewhere.
Giles Cannon comments: "We supply most UK retailers with produce at various times utilising Berry Gardens and AFL to do this. Additionally we supply local businesses and wholesalers direct.
There are 5 invaluable full time staff and up to 70 seasonal workers.
Below: BIFGA members with Giles Cannon during the farm walk at Roughway Farm
Farm Walk - Part 1
Giles led the BIFGA members to the Magic Star and Cameo orchard.
1st. Magic Star in 1st leaf (planted 2021) on M26 at 3.5m x 1.0m with Gala pollinators.
2nd. Planted 2020 - 2nd leaf at 3.5m x 0.8m carrying a nice crop.
Below: Magic Star in 2nd leaf carrying a nice crop
For those unfamiliar with Magic Star, see below a picture of Magic Star at Friday Street Farm in 2019
Nigel Jenner, Chief Technical Officer for Avalon Produce said "As I am sure you are aware, the storage capabilities of this apple are unrivalled. Last year we stored it for 12 months in dynamic controlled atmosphere trials, but even in standard ultra-low oxygen, it is quite capable of meeting the new season's crop, providing it is picked in the optimum window" - as a variety, it's a game changer
3rd. Cameo planted at 3.5m x 1m in 2017 on M9 with Mairac and Goldrush pollinators.
Farm walk Part 2
1. Maravilla Raspberries Long Cane planted May 2021, commencing harvest 'imminently'
Below: left; Maravilla Raspberries and right; Long Cane production Nursery
2. Nursery Raspberry Production of Long Cane for 2022
3. Traditional Kent Cobnuts and Hazel Nut variety collection
Below: Kent Cob Nuts and right; Hazel Nut Collection
Roughway Farm has a long association with Kent Cobnuts, Giles father John Cannon is still the President of the Kent Cobnut Association. Giles highlighted the collection of 50 different Hazel Nut varieties, which were originally destined for another location, but after a call from the Nursery - (Frank P Matthews) Giles agreed to host the collection.
4. Greengages and Plums Mixed orchard of Reine Claude, Opal, and Jubileum, mostly on Wavit rootstock at 3.5m x 1.25m
5. Cherries Planted 2018 mostly on Gisella 5 rootstock with some Gisella 3. Varieties include Folfer, Tamara, Lapins, Regina, Penny, plus trial of Areko, Cambrina (white cherry), Marble and c247.1
Below: left; BIFGA members gather by the cherry tunnels and right; Cherries in tunnels
Below: left; beautiful Cherries and right; The English Apple Man in 'raiders of the lost ark' mode
The BIFGA visit to Giles Cannon at Roughway Farm was a thoroughly enjoyable and educational evening, and for The EAM a welcome chance to meet many of my friends in this wonderful industry of ours.
That is all for this week
The English Apple Man