Q&A with Blackcurrant Grower John Hinchliff
John Hinchliff is one of just 35 blackcurrant growers in the UK and this month we’ve been catching up with him about his life as a grower.
Who in your family is involved in growing, past, present and future? I am a fourth-generation farmer but when it comes to blackcurrants, I am the first of my family to grow them.
How long have you been growing blackcurrants? 40 years.
What varieties do you grow and in what region/area? My farm is based in Kent and that’s where we grow all of our blackcurrants. Our varieties include Gairn, Starav, Hope, Klibreck, Avon, Alder, Tirran and Lawers.
What tonnage do you harvest annually and where do they go? 360 tonnes per year. They mostly go to Lucozade Ribena Suntory but a small amount is sold to Sainsbury’s – handpicked in punnets.
What else do you grow? We grow apples, pears and cherries on the farm.
Can you give one tip that people could benefit from when growing blackcurrants? My best advice is to prune hard because ultimately you will get more and better fruit.
Can you tell us about some of the ways in which you manage the land sustainably? Sustainable growing is really important to the farm and we plant lots of wildflower areas with wide margins to create habitats for wildlife, and we ensure there are plenty of bird boxes across the land to protect the birds.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy blackcurrants? Ribena Frusion, as it has got me drinking more water.
YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ
Hello December! As the year comes to an end, we like to reminisce by rediscovering our favourite purple berry recipes! As we slow down for the festive season, it gives us the time to try that recipe we've had our eye on or discover a new firm favourite. From crisp,...
Last month, we were greeted with the cooler autumnal weather and darker evenings. The harvest may well be over, but we are still very busy here on the farm. We have just finished directly drilling oats and beans into the blackcurrant alleyways. This is our first...
It’s the season of cosy blankets, decadent hot chocolates and Christmas movies. As we nestle down for the Christmas period, we often find ourselves looking for those winter warmer meals and festive snacks. Our favourite tasty purple berries make for some of the most...