After a 5 year stint in the British Army as an Infantry Officer, in 2013 Ben moved back to Kent to become the 5th Generation to join his family fruit farming business. He has spearheaded large growth since joining and in doing so secured Bardsley England’s place in the Top Fruit industry. The business now grows over 10,500tns of Top fruit and runs a large commercial packhouse that handles 25,000tns of fruit per year. The business also has a successful juice brand that can be found in over 200 locations nationwide. Ben’s vision is to continue growing the business and investing in NPD and technology wherever possible to increase the profitability of his farming operation. Ben is honoured to be the Chairman of the NextGen Fruit Group and looks forward to delivering a successful 2 years for all of the members.
Jim has been involved in the fresh produce industry since 2003 with extensive farming experience both in Scotland and England. He is currently responsible for an innovative fresh produce business based in Herefordshire growing table top strawberries, field grown asparagus and UK Garlic which has both expanded and diversified significantly throughout the past 7 years. Having seen positive evolution within the industry throughout his career, and with a genuine passion for agriculture, business development, ethical food production and food security he believes that this is an exciting time for our industry which will need to continuously evolve to offer the best produce for our customers. As a committee member, he hopes to promote engagement of the membership both within our industry and with the wider public to ensure our industry is both recognised and enhanced.
After a university placement at Haygrove, whilst reading International Agricultural Business Management at the Royal Agricultural University, Laura returned to Haygrove to work in the Growing Systems division of the business. After 6 years, she is now Product Manager, an exciting and varied role, working with international teams on products for a variety of crops and growing techniques. Haygrove also farm over 500ha of berries and cherries in the UK, South Africa, Portugal and more recently China. Joining the NextGen Fruit Group inspired Laura, by providing an opportunity to meet others with the same passion for horticulture and its future development. As Treasurer of the current committee, Laura is looking forward to carrying on the mantle of giving members a platform to connect youth, energy, education and fun within the fruit industry.
Social Media & Sponsorship
J Myatt & Co
Alex studied Sport & Physical Education at UWIC, while working for the WRU as a performance analyst in her final year. She then went on to travel and do ski seasons while coming back to the family farm every summer, progressively gaining more interest, experience and knowledge. In 2017 Alex decided to give a winter on the farm a go and hasn’t looked back. J Myatt & Co farm at Mockbeggar, growing 450tns of soft fruit, 150tns of Rhubarb and over 600tns of stone fruit, packing all their own fruit on site at Mockbeggar Packing Ltd for a range of retailers. NextGen Fruit Group has been a great learning and networking platform for Alex and she is excited to be apart of its expansion, bringing more like minded, passionate people of the fruit industry together.
HL Hutchinson Ltd
Andy has been involved with the fruit industry from a young age with his family farm producing cider apples for over twenty years which Andy now runs. Upon returning from his travels he started to work with a contractor, growing cider apples, juice apples and cherries as well as undertaking all aspects of orchard management. He now works with Hutchinsons who are one of the leading agronomy companies who provide the highest standards of independent agronomic advice to growers. He has worked as an agronomist with them since February 2016 with a main focus on top fruit. Having been involved with the Under 40’s for 3 years he is extremely excited to be on the committee of the Next Gen Fruit Group and really pushing forward UK fruit growing.
Vineyard Technical Officer
After studying Crop Science at Nottingham University Maddie decided it was time to join the fruit industry in 2015. It was last year that Maddie started working at Nyetimber as their Technical Officer after working as a research technician for 3 years in the Pest & Pathogen Ecology group at NIAB EMR. The Nyetimber estate is currently 260 ha and spans across 9 separate sites located in Hampshire, Kent and West Sussex producing sparkling wine from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Maddie is excited to be the events planner for the NextGen Fruit Group and is looking forward to introducing the group to the growing UK Viticultural industry.