News & Events

Pip to Plate at Hadlow College

Posted on 14th October 2013 in Horticulture, Events

Pictures & commentary provided courtesy of John Guest, ‘The English Apple Man’.

Hadlow College was recently supported by a number of industry partners who took part in an event at their Huxley Orchard designed to give secondary school children the opportunity to learn about how apples are grown.  The Huxley Orchard comprises trees donated to the College in 2012 by Dr Theresa Huxley, a Product Technologist at Sainsbury’s.

The objective behind the Pip to Plate event was to 'sow the seeds' of interest in the young people who might go on to seek a career in the Horticulture industry.  The product of an idea discussed last season between Hadlow lecturer Stefan Jordan and John Breach (supplier of fruit trees), then with a small group of industry specialists (which included The English Apple Man), Pip to Plate came to fruition.

The event took place in ideal conditions, the weather started dry and warm and became steadily sunnier as the day progressed.

The visiting school children were from the Hadlow Rural Community School.  They were split into four groups, the first arriving for a 10am start, each group then travelled around the Pip to Plate circuit of learning stations.

Pip to Plate picked out the essential steps as an apple progresses from a pip via budding and grafting, the challenges of crop protection, tree management, the science of modern apple storage and marketing requirements.

John Guest, The English Apple Man, firstly explained the origin of the sweet apple we know today.

Feli Fernandez, geneticist and breeder at East Malling Research spoke about how the apple is bred to improve fruit quality and in particular, resistance to pest and disease.

Mike Hutchinson - CEO of Hutchinsons - explained the mysteries of crop protection and the science used to protect our apples from various pests and diseases.

FAST (Farm Advisory Services Team) agronomists - John Clark and Philippe Parageaurd educated the pupils on how maximising the profit from a new orchard and attention to detail from the very beginning is paramount in the success of a new orchard venture.

ICA and STS personnel Simon Fitch and David Clough, explained the mysteries of apple storage.

Chingford Fruit personnel, Simon Cannel (Trade Marketing Business Unit Director) and Lorna Clarke (Technical Manager Top Fruit), explained the marketing aspects of the supply chain and the quality criteria used to ensure consumer satisfaction.  Claire Donovan - Worldwide Fruit Account Manager - demonstrated the way we measure sugar (brix) levels.

Hadlow College horticulture students, supported the professional presenters throughout the day, including demonstrating the correct way to plant a tree.

All in all, this fun and educational event achieved all its aims of enthusing the children and giving them a true industry insight into apple growing and the many related careers they could pursue in this expanding sector.

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