Background on the business
Nigel is the fourth generation of the Bardsley family to grow apples at River Farm in Kent. He took over the family business in 1985.
River farm is truly a family business. Nigel manages the fruit production and his wife Annette manages the staff, recruiting up to 55 extra workers for harvest each year. The Bardsleys are one of the stars of the National Fruit Show each year; Annette’s dedication and attention to detail ensures that they are always high up the leaderboard with a superb display of beautiful fruit.
The farm is in the centre of the traditional apple growing area once referred to as the Garden of Eden. Nigel’s eight hectares of Cameo orchards are situated on south facing slopes taking full advantage of the perfect apple growing climate of Kent. Nigel’s passion for Cameo Apples Nigel started growing Cameo Apples about 10 years ago; he decided to trial them as he liked their distinct flavour.
This year he expects to grow 220 tons of the apples but expects this to increase further over time as new trees mature.
Like other apples, Cameo trees require quite a bit of attention throughout the year as they produce so much fruit and therefore need a lot of hand thinning. Nigel starts picking his crop at the beginning of October when the rest of the apple harvest is over for the year.
Nigel supplies Tesco, Booths, Morrisons, COOP and ASDA supermarkets with Cameo Apples and anticipates the first crops to be in store by December/January.
What is the beauty of Cameo over its rivals?
Nigel believes the beauty of Cameo Apples is:
• It stores very well which means they can be sold from Nov to May if required
• Its taste – Cameo has won many tasting competitions against other English apples at the Marden Fruit Show as well as coming top in a number of supermarket tasting awards.