TOM MAYNARD

My name is Tom Maynard and I’m a second generation grower. My father, David, signed up for a Ribena contract in the 1950’s and still has input today aged 89! 

How long have you been growing blackcurrants?

We’ve been growing blackcurrants since the 1950’s. I’ve been involved all my life, earning my first pennies hand picking, driving the harvester as a student and still at it 50 years later.

What varieties do you grow and in what region?

Ben Gairn, Ben Starar, Ben Klibrek on the Kent/Sussex border.

How much do you harvest annually and where do they go?

180 tonnes with 98% going to Ribena and a few tonnes direct to the public, small commercial jam makers etc.

Do You Produce anything yourself with the fruit?

 We produce some ice cream for the farm shop.

What else do you grow?
Plums, damsons, apricots, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and more. Pick-your-own and direct sales are important to us.
Why do you love growing blackcurrants?
I am able to manage 50 acres of blackcurrants alone, apart from harvest time. It is a manageable crop.
Can you give one tip that people could benefit from when growing blackcurrants?

 Encourage branch growth from the base by pruning whole branches to the base. 

Can you tell us about some of the ways in which you manage the land sustainably?

Perennial fruit crops with a mixed grass and ward sustain a great microflora web in the soil.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy blackcurrants?
Ice creams. They blend well with apples in a compote but balance is important , they can dominate.
If you were a blackcurrant artist what genre of art do you think best represents you in your growing approach and why?

Impressionist – it can look a mess but there is method in it!