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Bright future for soft fruit in Scotland

L.M. Porter, a soft fruit grower and arable farmer with a fruit packing business based in Arbroath, Scotland who recently won the Grower of the Year award from Grower Magazine for innovations in their poly tunnel design. The company is part of the growers group who produce soft fruit for the Angus Soft Fruits group.

Situated on the East coast of Scotland they are exposed to the strong chilly winds coming off the North Sea. Being a soft fruit producer they were looking to make the poly tunnels more suitable for the weather conditions, by creating a more set, well sealed tunnel they have been able to more than double the production period for the soft fruit.

David Warden, Farm Manager, who put the company forward for the award, said that production has now gone from 300 tons per year to 1500 tons. L. M. Porter grows strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries as well as contract packing soft fruit during the off season. David has seen a big rise in demand in the UK market for blueberries in the last few years and L.M. Porter can now supply blueberries for the UK supermarkets from August until October because of the redesigned tunnels. They grow an early variety of raspberries which are available from the beginning of May and continue with a late variety which carries on until October. Blackberries are available from June (early variety) ending in October with a late variety.

David said the production at L.M. Porter hopefully will not be affected by the severe winter which was experienced all over the UK this year, although there was some damage to the tunnels within the growing group because of heavy snow fall, due to coastal situation of the farm the temperature only went as low as -6°C, where as other growers in the region suffered from temperatures as low as -18°C which lead to many of the plants dying. These companies face major replanting for this season.

Scotland is well known for its soft fruit production, and thanks to the forward thinking and sustainability shown at L.M. Porter, the future looks bright for the soft fruit industry in Scotland.

David Warden
LM Porter

Publication date: 3/18/2010
Author: Nichola Watson


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