Producer of the month: AC Goatham & Son
AC Goatham & Son celebrates it's 70th anniversary this year. Set up in 1947, this family business is run by Clive Goatham, his son Ross and their award winning business team. Now with 20 farms and 20 partner farms, farming in total over 4,000 acres, they are one of Britain's largest apple and pear growers. By 2020 they will have planted more than 1.5 million new fruit trees.
This year they will grow 170 million apples and 50 million pears, that's 1 in every 4.5 British apples and 1 in 3 British Conference Pears sold in the UK each year. AC Goatham & Son concentrates on growing delicious tasting and looking fruit, which is available for 10 months of the year from major supermarkets across the UK such as Sainsbury's.
AC Goatham & Son are based in Kent - the garden of England which has a climate perfectly suited to growing delicious fruit. They grow 15 different varieties of apples and three varieties of pears. Over the last two years the business has embarked on an ambitious planting programme to help save the great British Conference Pear. With new growing methods and the introduction of ripe and ready to eat Conference Pears, it is hoped these will become more popular with today's consumer.
Keep your apples and pears in the fridge when you buy them as they will last much longer and take them out of the fridge the night before you want to eat them. Ripe and ready pears can be enjoyed straight away.
Why do you do what you do?
We are a family business that quite simply enjoys and is passionate about growing the very best British apples and pears. This year we celebrate our 70th anniversary and we can't think of anything else we would rather be doing than to be out in the orchards on our farms here in Kent.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Each season brings something new to enjoy, from the spring and seeing row after row of apple and pear trees covered in beautiful blossom, to September when harvest begins and there is row after row of delicious apples and pears just waiting to be picked.
What do you least enjoy about your job?
Picking fruit in the rain with water running up your sleeves is not great fun but there is always a great buzz of excitement around our farms when the harvest takes place, especially when the sun is shining.
What achievement are you most proud of?
We have won many awards both locally and nationally and we are proud of the whole team that works hard and contribute to our ongoing success. We have also just built a brand new £10 milion state of the art packhouse, pre-grader and cold stores and we are very proud of this achievement. It will help to ensure we can provide more British Fruit throughout the year and with the latest technology in the cold stores, we are aiming for it to be available for 12 months of the year.
Why should we buy British produce?
When you buy British you don't just support the farm business but the many other local businesses that work with and do business with them. British produce helps create and maintain British jobs and we also think it's the most delicious produce in the world.
How do you think we should be promoting British?
People need to have the information available to them on packaging or at the point of sale to make an informed choice. They also need to know that they are buying quality tasting fruit, which looks great and is far superior to imported fruit.
If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food?
Buy the best, buy Great British.
What's on the menu this evening?
Something healthy which has lots of salad or veggies in it.