Kent grower named chair of Berry Gardens

Soft fruit grower Paul Kelsey is to become the new chairman of Berry Gardens.

Kelsey, a specialist berry grower who farms at Kelsey Farms in Wickhambreaux, east Kent, will take up the position in the new year, taking over from Marion Regan of Hugh Lowe Farms.

His family-owned business has been a member of the cooperative since the 1980s, with Kelsey joining his father Hugh on the farm in 1987. Under his leadership, Kelsey Farms has established itself as a large-scale and highly innovative berry grower, specialising in substrate production of premium varieties such as Maravilla raspberries and Driscoll's Jubilee strawberries.

Regan said "I would like to welcome Paul to this important role as I stand down after three years. I am confident that he will build on our past success and carry forward our progressive plans for the company. I would like to thank the board of Berry Gardens, its grower members and vice-chairman Alastair Brooks for their support and enthusiasm in developing this programme."

Kelsey said: "Over the past 15 years, Marion has contributed an enormous amount to the grower group, in particular in her role as a most active and progressive chairman. We owe a great deal to her efforts and leadership. I am delighted that she will continue to serve on the board of directors."

He added: "Berry Gardens is one of the UK's most successful and longest-established farmer-controlled businesses and offers our UK grower members and partners from around the world cost-effective and wide-scale access to the UK's best retail customers. Our cooperative ownership means that growers can rely on receiving top-class service from a financially secure business that they can trust.

"We shall be reinforcing the message with our retail customers that in dealing with Berry Gardens they are dealing directly with growers via their own marketing organisation, ensuring transparency and focus while minimising their supply chain costs. We are dedicated to growing both our own and our customers' businesses by providing consumers with the very best-tasting berries and cherries - year round."

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