UK growers return from international conference - Fruit & Vine

UK growers return from international conference

The NextGen Fruit Group recently returned from their bi-annual international conference, an ambitious trip taking 53 members to California to tour a range of crops and businesses to gain a greater understanding of worldwide horticultural production.

The NextGen Fruit Group recently returned from their bi-annual international conference, as members learned about horticultural production.

The packed agenda saw its members hosted by 14 different businesses, over seven days, travelling more than 900 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

NextGen Fruit Group, formerly known as the ‘Under 40s’, is a long-standing member organisation focusing on engaging and empowering the ‘next generation’ of the UK’s fruit industry. One way the organisation supports members is by organising events as a way of creating a collaborative network of growers, tackling the largest challenges faced by growers within the UK and how best to tackle these.

Members represent a range of growers, marketing desks and supporting businesses across tree fruits, soft fruits and viticulture.

While the NextGen Fruit Group usually focuses on UK events of networking and educational visits, there is a long-standing tradition of each committee offering an international trip at the end of their two-year tenure, the aim being to give members a chance at seeing something totally different, may it be crops or growing styles, understanding similarities and differences to their own growing situations and inspire members on the vast possibilities of the industry. Previous visits have included Chile and South Africa.

Broad spectrum

The international conference aimed to cover a broad spectrum of what California has to offer. From 500ha organic strawberry production with Driscolls growers, to small-scale peach and plum grower Brian Fien to the regenerative vineyards of Jackson Family Winery

More detailed accounts of hosts and experiences during the trip can be seen by checking out the NextGen Fruit Group’s social media.

Commenting after the event, Oli Pascall, chairman of NextGen and managing director of Clock House Farm said: “NextGen Fruit Group represents the best of UK horticulture, eagerness and talent. It was a pleasure to organise this trip for our members to engage and inspire the future of industry.

“We do it in the aim that practises and experiences will be gained and brought back to promote and develop the UK horticulture industry.

“We are so grateful to our members for engaging at all opportunities, our most generous American hosts as well as our UK partners and supporters, in attending the events and supporting financially to the group and all its endeavours.”

New committee

The trip also marks the handover to a new committee. Alana Deacon, head of operations at Hall Hunter, now takes on the baton and has begun to form her committee.

“I’m really excited to take on the mantel from the current committee, who I thank for their sterling work and organisation over the last two years delivering a range of very successful events. As a member the group has continually inspired me and helped me to link with like-minded individuals in the industry. I am excited to continue this tradition on and by all that can
be achieved.”

The NextGen Fruit Group is open to all young people working in the fruit growing industry, who are keen to link with others, learn and share experiences together.

For more information visit the website here.


Conference agenda included:

  • Plenty in Compton, LA. An ambitious vertical farming business at the forefront of technology as well as strong focus on community engagement
  • Driscoll’s in Santa Maria. Demonstrating regional focus of the business across the state and breeding succession across cane fruit, as well as the strawberry breeding program and variety succession
  • Advanced Farm demo of robotic packhouse systems for automatically tipping and sorting strawberries
  • Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. How California is prioritising their next generation, educating the horticultural leaders of tomorrow.
  • Bloom Fresh, McFarland. Grape and cherry breeding and genetics
  • Brian Fien, Dinuba. Small-scale stone
     fruit production
  • Family Tree Farms, Fresno. Large scale stone fruit and blueberry grower with a large focus on variety development
  • SunBerry Farms, Monterey. Large scale organic strawberry production
  • Taylor Farms, Salinas. Food service salad production
  • Fog City Farms. Cannabis production, marketing and branding.
  • Evening at Trattore Farms and Winery, Healdsburg. Inspirational talk from Tim Bucher, owner of Trattore Farms and founder of Agtonomy, autonomous systems and software application
  • Jackson Family Wines at La Crema Winery. Regenerative farming techniques and wine tasting.

Read more fruit news.

© Fruit & Vine 2024. All Rights Reserved.

Website Design by Unity Online

Sign Up To   Fruit & Vine

Our free* magazine subscription offers a host of benefits to those in the wine making, fruit growing, juice and cider producing industries - find out more, and sign up today, below.

Sign Up Today *Fruit & Vine is sent free-of-charge to qualifying industry professionals in the UK.