2013 Conference - Poland

In March 2013, 46 intrepid representatives from the UK fruit industry flew to Poland for the 22nd biannual Under 40s fruit grower’s conference.

This exciting 3 day program started with presentations from our generous sponsors at the grand hotel Ossa congress.  Without sponsorship these conferences would not be possible so thank you to you all.

Our first excursion was to the Research institute of Horticulture, Skierniewice where we heard presentations from several eminent professors on topics such as fruit production in Poland, plant breeding and mechanical harvesting.

After a Lunch Sponsored by Frank P Matthews Nursery in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire we visited the Nursery owned by Andrew and Simon Nowakowski located in Zdzary in the Grojec Region. Here we saw a demonstration of how they graft their root stocks and had a tour of their 90ha farm producing top grade fruit trees for the polish and eastern Europe market.  We also took a visit to local a machinery engineer and looked at picking platforms and rigs.

On the morning of Friday 8th March we visited a brand new packing facility, an investment from a cooperative of 30 growers. The complex is situated around storage and packing of apples, but ROJA also handles pears, plums, and cherries (in season). The latest controlled atmosphere (C/A) storage area houses 15,000 tonnes of fruit.  The packhouse can handle 50,000 tonnes of fruit each year.

After the pack house we braved the snow and visited a farm belonging to Mr Chrzesniak who has for over 50 years specialised in apple and cherry production. The farm is equipped with modern atmosphere controlled storage, which coupled with modern production methods allows Mr Chrzesniak to offer high quality fruit straight from the tree and throughout the year.

After a delicious lunch sponsored by New Leaf Irrigation we visited a juicing facility.  The term ‘juicing facility’ is more than an understatement; this juicing plant is the largest in Europe and capable of pressing 3,200 tons of apples a day! One of 44 juice facilities in Poland, but by far the biggest, the site is owned by Dohler Group a Global producer, marketeer, and provider of technology based natural ingredients, ingredient systems and integrated solutions for the food and beverage industry.

We returned to our hotel for the end of conference dinner.  The U40 Conference formally ends after the Gala night Dinner. This year The English Apple Man John Guest was invited by the 2013 Committee to deliver the Gala Night Speech. This centred on Johns 50+ years in the fruit industry and we thank him for his pearls of wisdom, insight and advice to help us develop and advance our fascinating and every changing industry.

Alex Myatt