Our little corner of the country, Kent, is widely known as the Garden of England, an area famed for its orchards, soft fruits and hop gardens that thrive due to the area’s mild climate, gentle hills and fertile soil.
2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, an event organised by the United Nations, to raise awareness of the importance of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition and health. As residents in the Garden of England we may consider ourselves experts on what grows in our local area, but here are some surprising facts about Kent’s fruit and vegetables you may not have known:
1. Our partner Brogdale Farm, located just outside of Faversham is home to the National Fruit Collection, housing over 4000 varieties of fruit and nut orchards from all over the world. Including 2200 varieties of apples, 550 varieties of pears, 285 varieties of cherries, 337 varieties of plums, 19 varieties of quince and 4 varieties of medlars. The collection is also home to 42 types of nut.
2. The strawberries consumed at the tennis championships at Wimbledon are considered some of the finest in the world. Each year tennis fans consume a whopping 122,000 punnets. What you may not know is all of these strawberries are grown here in Kent at Hugh Lowe farms, based near Maidstone.
3. Kent is home to 45 vineyards that are members of Wines of Great Britain, the official body for the UK wine industry, and there are also several smaller vineyards throughout the county.
4. 90% of cherries grown in the UK and 50% of the UK’s plums are grown in Kent.
5. Margate’s Thanet Earth is the largest greenhouse complex in the UK. Covering 220 acres it produces approximately 400 million tomatoes, 24 million peppers and 30 million cucumbers a year. This is an average of around 10% Britain’s entire annual production of these salad ingredients.