Jun 6, 2018
Tonight I'm heading up to Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire in Scotland to talk to soft fruit grower Ross Mitchell @rjmitch21
We talk about his family's farm and their decision to stop dairying in 1999 and expand their 15 acres of strawberries to commercial scale.
We discuss the polytunnels that they grow all their fruit under, which have allowed them to lengthen the growing season from 6 weeks of mid summer, to 8 months of the year.
We go into how they're using their geographical location to their advantage, before talking in detail about the 4 fruits they grow at Castleton - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries - and the process from planting, right the way through harvesting, and eventually them leaving the farm on supermarket lorries.
We also talk bees! 110,000 of 'em!! They're bought in to polinate 10 million strawberry flowers, 20 million blueberry flowers, 1.6 million raspberry flowers, 0.5 million cherry flowers - man do they get through some work!
We discuss their labour force at Castleton, which includes 600 EU workers each year, with 450 being there at peak season, and some of the jobs that they do, before going on to talk about the increasing problem of getting access to European labour, and the serious consequences to the UK soft fruit industry.
We also talk about how the family have invested heavily in renewable energy, and their successful farm shop www.castletonfarmshop.co.uk that's run by Ross's Wife Anna.
All this and much, much more. It was fantastic to talk to someone as innovative and forward thinking as Ross, and learn more about the Scottish soft fruit industry.
Check it out folks..
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This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit www.nfu-cymru.org
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