Tag Archives: fruit

Industry getting ready for Fruit Focus

As preparations for Fruit Focus on 25th July continue, the event, which is expected to connect more than 1,300 visitors to over 120 exhibitors, says it will focus on the continued evolution of the UK fruit industry as it faces climate change, Brexit, new technology and irrigation challenges.

The event will give growers the chance to see the latest innovation in water use and irrigation in the Water Efficient Technologies (WET) Centre. Opened last year, it features a fully automated Precision Irrigation Package, which has proven to reduce the use of water, fertilisers, pesticides and energy by 20% while also delivering up to a 10% increase in strawberry yields. With new abstraction licenses on the horizon, the area is sure to be popular.

Event hosts NIAB EMR will also be holding a forum looking at precision growing of soft fruit, encompassing new innovations and technologies to enhance crop productivity, resilience and quality. The ever-popular research tours will include the research vineyard, WET centre and concept pear orchard. “NIAB EMR’s showpiece demonstration feature, the WET Centre, is in its first full year of production, and we are anticipating a heavy crop of Malling™ Centenary,” comments Prof Mario Caccamo, managing director at NIAB EMR.

Other attractions include the NFU Forum and tours looking at strawberry pollination and the ‘concept pear orchard.’ Tickets are on sale now.

Photo Credit: Fruit Focus

The post Industry getting ready for Fruit Focus appeared first on Hort News on 21 June 2018.

Tesco free fruit scheme hits 50 million mark

Tesco says that it has now given more than 50 million pieces of free fruit to children in its stores after the idea was first proposed by an employee in its Brigg store in Lincolnshire almost two years ago.

The scheme, which was the brainchild of Maria Simpson, was so well received that the retailer subsequently rolled it out across the country, with some 800 stores now taking part. Maria commented, “Over 50 million, wow! This means that children across the UK have had a healthy and free piece of fruit from Tesco over 50 million times! It’s incredibly humbling for me to know that children are benefiting from this. They love it and the parents love it too.”

Alessandra Bellini, Tesco’s Chief Customer Officer, added, “I’m incredibly proud that a simple idea from one of our colleagues has gone on to have such a big impact. 50 million pieces of free fruit in two years will go a long way towards creating healthy habits that will stay with children as they grow up.”

According to research Tesco and mumsnet, a third of parents said their children have eaten more fruit thanks to the scheme, and three quarters of parents said that the initiative has made their shopping trip easier.

Photo Credit: Tesco

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Dutch ag. exports reach record high

According to the latest statistics from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and Wageningen Economic Research, Dutch exports of agricultural goods reached a record level of €91.7 billion in 2017, exceeding the previous record in 2016 by more than 7 per cent.

Dutch agricultural imports and the nation’s agricultural surplus also reached record heights, as imports of agricultural goods increased by 9 per cent to €62.6 billion, while the agricultural surplus went up by almost 4 per cent to €29.1 billion.

The horticultural sector led the way, with horticulture including cut flowers, bulbs, plants and nursery products worth €9.1 billion. This was followed by dairy products (€8.9 billion), meat (€8.3 billion) and vegetables (€6.7 billion). The same ranking holds true if only domestically produced items are counted.  According to the CBS, ‘fruit ranks fifth on the list of top agricultural export goods, although this is largely re-exports of foreign produce.’

Germany is the top destination for Dutch agricultural exports, with €23.4 billion in agricultural goods crossing the Dutch border, equivalent to over 25 percent of total agricultural exports.

Germany was followed by Belgium (€10.4 billion), the UK (€8.6 billion) and France (€8.0 billion) as the largest buyers of agricultural products from the Netherlands.

Photo Caption: Horticulture topped Dutch exports, with vegetables and fruit in fourth and fifth place.

Photo Credit: Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

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BerryWorld creates Spanish subsidiary

The BerryWorld group has expanded its PrepWorld subsidiary to Spain, creating what it says is a fresh-cut fruit supplier with a ‘distinctly Spanish twist and flair.’

The new Valencia-based company is a joint venture with Spanish soft fruit grower and exporter Surexport Compañia Agraria. It will be headed up by general manager Pepe Morant, who has extensive experience of fresh produce in both Spain and the UK, most recently as General Manager of Del Monte Spain.

“We have been evaluating the potential of establishing a Spanish prepared fruit business with our partners at Surexport for a number of years,” said BerryWorld’s managing director Ben Olins. “We believe that the factors that have made PrepWorld successful in the UK, a focus on quality, innovation and high technical standards, will work well in the Spanish market.”

Surexport managing director Andres Morales added: “With the expertise of our partners in a more mature market for prep and our knowledge in production and premium varieties, we will bring delicious, high-quality, healthy products to the Spanish consumer.”

Photo Credit: BerryWorld

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Bumper fruit year coincides with labour shortages

Excellent growing conditions have provided a bumper crop of UK soft fruit this season, but industry organisation British Summer Fruits warns that Brexit means that many growers are struggling to harvest the volume.

“We have been experiencing bumper crops across both strawberries and cherries this year,” said a spokeswoman for British Summer Fruits. Tesco is among retailers who have reported increased sales of British grown fruit from strawberries through to cherries and apricots, and has introduced larger pack sizes to help suppliers move unexpected large volumes of product.

However, growers are reporting a shortage of migrant workers available for fruit picking and grading. Jack Ward, chief executive of British Growers told journalists, “The labour situation has definitely tightened in the last 15 months. It is more difficult and more costly to recruit people. There are fewer returners and the age profile, generally, is going up amongst seasonal labour. I think younger people are more prepared to go and do other things.

“If you wound the clock back 10 years, it would have been the younger people who pioneered the idea of coming from Lithuania or Romania or Bulgaria or the Czech Republic to pick fruit.

“I think what you are finding is that a lot of businesses are spending a lot more time recruiting than they have in previous years. They have got to work a lot harder to attract people.” He added that high levels of employment (the highest since 1971) also meant that there are insufficient numbers of British workers to replace EU labour, even if they could be persuaded to pick the crops.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Blackcurrant Foundation announces “Big Squeeze” campaign

The Blackcurrant Foundation, which represents the interests of more than 40 British blackcurrant growers, has announced details of its digital consumer campaign for 2017.

With the majority of British blackcurrants (around 95%) ending up in fruit cordial Ribena, the will focus on the story of how the berry gets in the bottle. Named “The Big Squeeze” it will run from May until the British harvest ends in August, and hopes to increase consumer awareness via social media and Facebook.

The aspiration is for consumers to better understand the berry’s journey from bush to bottle, starting in May with a focus on farming heritage, followed by how the land is managed in June, and finally in July the 2017 harvest itself. The campaign will be driven through Facebook with monthly farm ‘vlogs’ updating followers on how the berries are growing. There will also be a number of consumer giveaways.

A spokesperson for the campaign commented, “It is hoped the campaign will bring awareness to the custodianship by British Farmers of this small but mighty super-fruit and the taste we all enjoy when drinking it!”

Photo Caption: Chair of The Blackcurrant Foundation- Jo Hilditch- Raising a glass to the new campaign in her blackcurrant fields in Herefordshire.

Photo Credit: The Blackcurrant Foundation

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Sorbet could give blackcurrants a boost

North eastern ice cream producer Beckleberry’s is launching a new sorbet which it hopes will cash in on blackcurrant’s reputation as a ‘super food’.

Growers also help that it will boost the profile of the fruit and increase demand. The Liquorice & Blackcurrant Sorbet will be pitched as an indulgent dessert with healthy benefits thanks to the fruit which is high in potassium, iron and antioxidants.

“We’ve always believed that when it comes to premium-tier desserts indulgence and health needn’t be mutually exclusive,” said Beckleberry’s MD Peter Craig. “We’ve always focused on more intense, adult-orientated palates, Tarragon & Passion Fruit, Sour Cherry & Amaretto and Blackcurrant & Kirsch, that preclude the need for unappetizing synthetic flavours.”

Photo Credit: Flickr

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Effective controls for apple canker identified

Two new fungicides have been identified for the control of apple canker, caused by the fungus Neonectria ditissima, while research into integrated pest management of the disease is also providing promising results.

Canker is one of the most important diseases of apple and pear, causing cankers and dieback of young shoots, as well as fruit rot that can result in losses as high as ten per cent or more in stored fruit. In a two-year AHDB Horticulture funded trial examining control of Neonectria fruit rot, a range of experimental fungicides, a biofungicide and several alternative chemical treatments were tested for effectiveness. During the trials, fungicides Delan Pro and Syllit 400SC were found to be effective at reducing the incidence of fruit rot.

A five-year IPM study, also commissioned by AHDB Horticulture, is looking at how apple canker spreads. The project aims to identify an approach to reduce losses during tree establishment by targeting infection at propagation phase and improving the efficacy of orchard control.

Mark Holden, from Adrian Scripps Ltd is an industry representative of the project. He commented, “Losses of trees due to canker have risen significantly over the last 10 years due to more intensive tree planting, particularly with more susceptible varieties such as Gala, Braeburn, Kanzi & Jazz.

“The main issue is the lack of systemic chemical products in the growing season which are effective so it is encouraging that some new chemistry is coming through. It is hoped that, after the registration process is completed for these new products, the label requirements are not too restrictive.”

Photo Caption: Neonectria ditissima

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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Tesco introduces apples to yoghurt in latest waste effort

Tesco has partnered with leading organic dairy, Yeo Valley, and Adam Wakeley, the UK’s largest organic fruit grower to create an exclusive new Apple and Custard Left-Yeovers yogurt which helps to tackle food waste. The yogurt uses visually imperfect, but great tasting apples, to create the seasonal flavour.

The Left-Yeovers range, which has been championed by Tesco in recent months, helps to prevent food waste by using surplus fruit from the Yeo Valley storerooms, and also raises money for a very important cause, with 10p from every pot sold donated to food redistribution charity, FareShare. Previous Left-Yeovers flavours have included Strawberry & Fig, Plum & Custard and Banoffee, and have raised £20,000 for FareShare so far.

Adrian Carne Joint Managing Director of Yeo Valley commented, “Our Apples and Custard yogurt is made with organic Santana fruit grown in Gloucester. The juicy apples are blended with a creamy custard yogurt made in our Somerset dairy.”

Photo Credit: Tesco

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Fruit stolen from Kent growers

Police investigating a series of fruit thefts in Kent worth around a total of £6,000 have said that the incidents ‘may be linked.’

Fresh produce including strawberries and cherries have been stolen from growers in the Sittingbourne and Faversham areas. Three thefts were reported near Church Road, Tonge, between the 18 and 26 July, where around £1,600 worth of fruit was stolen. In addition, around £2,400 worth of soft fruit was stolen from land near Faversham, between 7 July and 22 July.

Kent Police are also investigating whether a reported fruit theft worth £2,000, between 26 and 27 July near Yalding, is connected. Investigating officer, PC Marc Pennicott, said, “These thefts are all very similar so we believe they may be linked and I would encourage anyone with information to get in touch.”

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