An apple is a round, edible fruit produced by an apple tree (Malus domestica). Apple trees are cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus Malus. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe.
Apples grown from seed tend to be very different from those of their parents, and the resultant fruit frequently lacks desired characteristics. Generally, apple cultivars are propagated by clonal grafting onto rootstocks. Apple trees grown without rootstocks tend to be larger and much slower to fruit after planting. Rootstocks are used to control the speed of growth and the size of the resulting tree, allowing for easier harvesting.
Mole End Farm
Paul grows top fruit on approximately 100 acres across 5 sites in Kent:- Cranbrook, Wateringbury, Marden, Goudhurst and Chart Sutton.
In the early nineties Paul bought a home which included four and a half acres of mature, but neglected conference pears as well as wild flower meadows. This awakened an interest in fruit farming and in 1994 decided the time was right for a complete career change. The idea germinated that organic production of top fruit was possible, if not extremely difficult. He therefore purchased an existing top fruit farm in Cranbrook called Hartley Lands Farm and proceeded to convert it to organic standards.
Paul has some clearly defined aims:
- Our principal aim is to produce a high quality food product in a fully sustainable manner with the absolute minimum impact on the surrounding environment.
- To utilise and maintain the farms natural ponds whilst at the same time enhancing the the wildlife habitat and creating as much bio-diversity on our farm as possible.
- To learn from best practice in Organic Apple & Pear Production from around the world, trialling new and exciting varieties, specifically developed for their eating quality and their resistance to pests and diseases
- To market, package and promote our products using the most environmentally sustainable means.
- To sell as much of our product locally, thereby minimising the "food miles" they have to travel.
Even if we were not producing to organic standards our aims would remain the same.