Kent dried-fruit crisp sales expand worldwide

A top-fruit grower in Kent is expecting to further grow international sales of its farm-produced dried-fruit crisps this year.

Perry Court Farm near Ashford has concluded a deal to supply a supermarket chain in Brazil, on top of deals in China, the Middle East, Australia and Italy.

Third-generation grower Charlie Fermor has sought to develop overseas markets as well as independent UK retailers as an alternative to the perceived stringent constraints and low margins offered by UK supermarkets. "Every country I deal with is different," he said. "China is constantly changing and updating rules, so I have to keep on top of them."

Perry Court sells three kinds of fruit crisp - "Tangy Apple" made from Bramley, "Sweet Apple" from Cox and "Dried Pear" made from Doyenne du Comice.

The fruit is harvested from the orchards, washed, cored, sliced and low-dried in a temperature and humidity-controlled process using an adapted plum dryer from the US prune industry. They are then bagged straight away, with a tonne of fruit yielding more than 7,000 packets.

Fermor added: "We've got major plans to expand and we are looking at building a new factory to cope with the demand, but I need to see how the year goes."

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