Jo has been running her family farm for around 10 years. Blackcurrants have been a staple crop since the 1930s when her grandfather planted one of the first plantations in Herefordshire and she now supplies Ribena, Pixley Berries and produces her own crème de cassis product. Other crops on her mixed farm include cider apples, potatoes and an arable rotation. Jo began a whole farm environmental stewardship in 1997 and is committed to maintaining the beautiful Herefordshire landscape.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
Having grown up on a blackcurrant farm it never occurred to me to be anything but a farmer. I don’t like to be stuck indoors all day so a job where I can be out and about all day suits me fine!
If you could change one thing in modern blackcurrant farming what would it be?
The process of farming blackcurrants has evolved greatly over the years and our husbandry and methods of harvesting are now fairly well refined. If I could wish for one thing however, I would like to see increased interest from the retailers – it would be fantastic to have widespread stocking of blackcurrants both during the season as fresh or off-season as frozen and juices. This is particularly in light of their health benefits which consumers could be reaping!
What is your motto in life?
“Don’t let the grass grow under your feet” There’s always people to see, things to do, projects to manage – gotta get on while you can!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spend time with my beautiful children; Hannah, Willa and Johnny, and my husband, Gio. I play a lot of sport and we also love to travel and see the world so holidays are important to us. Whether its skiing or sunbathing we usually manage to find something to satisfy everyone!
What would you request as your final meal?
A British Fillet steak, new potatoes and some seasonal al dente green vegetables with a glass of kir royale made from my very own blackcurrant cassis.
What is the first thing you do when you go to work in the morning?
It’s usually a rather dull process of checking my e-mails before heading out to the farm and having an update with my farm manager to find out the latest goings on.
Do you get your 5 a day?
Of course! I try to eat healthily most of the time although this does often prove more difficult at the weekends…! Obviously the purple patch is always the most delicious.
What’s the best bit about being a blackcurrant grower?
No two days are ever the same. I love the variation my week brings and nothing beats the feeling of seeing a good crop flourish each summer.