At a glittering ceremony in the heart of London, we were able to celebrate two key success stories for Mack. Together with stone fruit grower, Charles Highwood, we were awarded the accolade of Top/Stone Fruit Grower of the Year. East Malling Research were also awarded the Best New Variety award for the strawberry Malling CentenaryTM; the variety was developed by the Strawberry Breeding Club, in which Mack is a key partner.
The award for the cherry work was the result of some considerable investment from Charles Highwood and Mack. To bring innovation and exciting new varieties onto retail shelves is a key target for Sainsbury’s, along with showcasing the very best of what Britain can grow. The delicate blush colour and deep, intense flavour of the Rainier cherry made it a very attractive proposition – if only the variety could be grown in the UK.
The investment was made in wire trellis and covers for the rows of new trees. This provided sufficient protection for the orchard that within just 18 months of planting, a small commercial volume was proudly presented to Sainsbury’s customers in the Taste the Difference range in the summer of 2015.
Prospects for the crop in 2016 are good, and hopes are high for a significantly larger volume. This is likely to lead to a fast-moving programme of further plantings to make the Rainier variety a more familiar sight on shelves.
Developing new strawberry varieties is a highly competitive area, with major investment in long term projects needed for the painstaking work. The quest is to find varieties that deliver the sweetness and colour that consumers need, whilst being robust enough to grow and yield well in the UK climate. Varieties which require fewer inputs are also high on the list for growers.
Mack has invested in the Strawberry Breeding Club along with other industry partners and the plant scientists at East Malling Research. Malling CentenaryTM is a variety that was first tested several years ago, but which has grown to be the widely acknowledged new industry benchmark standard variety. It delivers in each of the required areas, and it has scored more highly than any other variety in consumer trials.
Our congratulations go to the broad team involved for the award of Best New Variety.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
The mission for Mack is to be the best fresh produce supply company in the UK. Mack delivers for its customers, investing in technology, innovation and in efficiency solutions to help make sure that the very best fresh produce reaches our customer in the best condition possible, in the shortest time.
With people based in the UK and at source around the world, Mack is the go-to company with the right connections and an uncompromising approach to quality.
For further information, contact Judy Whittaker on 01892 831222 / firstname.lastname@example.org