Last week, the Duke of Rothesay, as the Prince of Wales is known when in Scotland, visited Castleton Farm to see for himself the Scottish soft fruit harvest at its height. The successful family-run business at Castleton Farm grows and supplies soft fruit, manufacturing food products and runs a café and farm shop.
With over 1,200 acres of arable land, over 400 acres of this are planted with soft fruit. The business harvests fruit for nine months of the year and is the most northerly commercial blueberry farm in the world.
The Duke was shown the blueberry polytunnels, with picking was in full swing. This is the peak of the Scottish blueberry season which goes on until the end of November. He also visited the cherry orchard where he witnessed the only fresh cherries currently being harvested anywhere in the world. He was then guided through the custom-built packhouse where all the berries are chilled, packed and labelled before being distributed to retailers throughout the UK.
Last year Castleton Farm picked and packed 8.5million punnets of premium Scottish soft fruit. They supply the UK’s major supermarkets, with the majority of the fruit going to Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Waitrose and Lidl.