Background on the business
London born Melvyn Newman has been in the fruit growing business since 1973. Before then, he worked in the markets of Covert Garden and decided to get out and start up his own farm to escape the stresses of city living. Interestingly, he has never totally left his first occupation, as he still has a pitch there to this day, although he doesn’t run it himself.
His farm is based in Canterbury and comprises 1200 acres. Fruit is his passion and in addition to Cameo Apples he produces lots of different apples including Braeburn, Kanzi, Rubens and Gala as well as a number of varieties of pear including Conference and Comice. Cameo production accounts for 30 hectares making him the largest Cameo grower in Europe.
How did Melvyn become the largest single grower of Cameo Apples in Europe?
In 1997 Melvyn was contacted by a nursery agent in France to who asked him if he was interested in growing Cameo apples, coincidently he was munching away on one at the time and thought they had a lovely flavour. So initially he bought 500 trees but has steadily increased his acreage over time to become the largest single grower of Cameo Apples in Europe.
The busiest period for Cameo growers is late September/ early October when the apples start to be picked. And although Melvyn runs a large business, he is very much hands on with the running of it and close to harvesting, spends a lot of time in the orchards inspecting the crop. It is his decision and his decision alone which determines when the apples get picked.
Melyvn supplies Cameo apples to the Co-op, Asda, Budgens, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and now Morrisons. With first deliveries to these supermarkets expected by early November.
Quotes from Melvyn on his love for Cameo Apples
“Cameo always stores fantastically well, if kept in a cool environment the quality of the fruit is retained far longer than most apples.”
“Cameo apples have a distinct sweet flavour that is unlike other apples, they are also nice and firm with a lovely crunch!”