AR Neaves & Sons

AWARD WON: Top-Fruit Grower of the Year

Location: Sittingbourne, Kent

Director: Sarah Neaves

Tell me about your key goals/priorities as a business for 2019.

We will look for new varieties of bigger, darker, redder cherries. We will also extend our packhouse and cover our water system to improve input and make irrigation more efficient. Next year, we will also look for new plastic to improve the growing climate for our crops over 40 hectares of land.

What do you feel will be the biggest challenge for you as a business (or for your sector) in 2019 – and why?

Labour will be our biggest challenge and Brexit could have a big impact – up to now we haven't struggled; we've put in new accommodation and look after our staff well, so that's a good way of of getting them to come back. But Brexit will change things and for us that's that's the challenge.

What do you regard as the biggest opportunity for you as a business (or for your sector) in 2019 – and why?

Next year we will cover 100% of our crops with plastic – all 40 hectares - which is the culmination of seven or eight years of work. This will improve what we send out to the supermarkets and mean we can very near guarantee a crop of cherries heading to any supermarket.

What was the best thing about winning a Horticulture Week Business Award for you as a business?

The award proves the firm is doing a very, very well and all our hard work has paid off. The award puts us out there even more in the the sector and supermarkets really value hearing their growers are winning industry awards. When they come and visit us, they love talking about awards we've won, so it's very encouraging.


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