FPJ Interview with Paul Mansfield


Paul Mansfield was recently interviewed by Fresh Produce Journal regarding a feature on UK Cherries. Extract below:

'Leading grower Mansfields has 250 acres of cherries in the ground this season, with a further 50 acres due to be planted in the autumn, an investment that completes its latest five-year plan on the fruit.

The company's cherries are being grown on Gisela 3, 5 and 6 root-stocks, which Paul Mansfield says were selected for their consistent-quality cropping, while the varieties it is focusing on are Staccato, Sweetheart, Kordia, Lapins, Penny, Skeena and Regina. That represents a reduction on the 15 varieties Mansfields was growing a decade ago, as the focus has been on whittling down to those crops that do the business in every area. "The main thing about what we do is we have spent a lot of time and investment in varietal development," he explains, "We only grow varieties that tick all the boxes, namely that they produce large, dark cherries, good shelf life, eating quality and spread of picking. In addition, 100 per cent of our cherry trees under production are covered and fertigated."

Mansfield, who describes it as a "myth" that cherries are easy to grow, says getting the right varietal mix is crucial to build long-term sales, and the firm has a dedicated cherry farm manager with his own team to ensure the crop gets the expertise it needs.

With UK demand continuing to outstrip supply, Mansfield will soon turn his attention to the next five-year plan as he continues to invest in a product he has high ambitions for.'