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Local Newspaper - Robert Mitchell MBE

 

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A FARMER, an Army veteran and a civil servant were among those named in the Queen's birthday honours list from the Sevenoaks district. The full list for award-winners, published over the weekend, included Robert Mitchell, a farmer from Bewley Lane, Plaxtol, who was awarded an MBE for his services to charity. PLEASED: Andrew Stott, who has received an CBE;  HONOURED: Brigadier William Dobbie;  PROUD: Plaxtol Apple grower and charity worker Robert Mitchell has just been awarded an MBE

The 52-year-old father of two was the chairman of the associated learning charity Concordia for 14 years and now owns Robert Mitchell Farms. He said: "I feel in my years there we grew, expanded and met so many incredible people. "I was absolutely honoured and proud when I heard the news last month. "It's been a real struggle to keep it a secret – I have to admit that I told my close family and we had a big party, and since everyone else found out on Saturday, there have been several more. The champagne has been flowing and I'm delighted."

The Courier - 17th June 2011

 
Robert Mitchell in Queen's Birthday Honours List

 

Apple farmer is good to the core

Apple and pear farmer Robert Mitchell, 52, from Sevenoaks, is another awarded an MBE for his services to young people.

The fruit grower became a volunteer with Corcordia, a charity which promotes international youth exchange in more than 50 countries, helping the foreign workers who picked the fruit on his farm.

He said: "It's a huge honour to be recognised in this way. It'll be an exciting learning curve for me.

"I'm just a farmer and any recognition comes from apples but this is completely different."

Speaking about his work for Concordia, Robert said: "I travelled through Eastern Europe, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania - many of those places are poorer than us.

“The thrill for me was to see young students we had helped and visit them back home. One person used the money he earned to build a brand new house for his disabled mother."

 

kentonline.co.uk - 11th June 2011

 
Planting 2011

This year we are replanting some of the areas affected by the gas pipeline, installed 2 years ago.  Now that the soil has settled it is ready for planting with the trees that have been held in cold storage for the last few weeks.  The exact planting positions are marked out and planting holes are dug by hand to ensure the perfect depth for the new trees.

The tree roots are soaked in water overnight, then the trees are carefully planted and firmed in well.  A wire guard is put around every tree to prevent rabbits eating the tender bark, then the trees are tied to the support stakes to prevent them rocking in the wind.  This allows new roots to develop rapidly as the soil temperatures increase.  The trees will be pruned and watered for the next few weeks. After 4 years of care and attention, the new orchard will begin to crop with Bramley apples and Golden Delicious pollinators to be used in our Mitchell's Apple Juice.

 
Plaxtol Produce Event

 

imgp1298The event at the Papermakers Arms, Plaxtol was very well attended.  Robert & Helen set up their stall and invited locals and visitors to try the apple juice, which was well received by everyone. 

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Sales were brisk and people went away with the special promotional bags loaded with bottles.  Robert was asked to be a judge for the inter-village marmalade competition!

 

The next event is at Hadlow on 16 April.

 
Local Events

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Sales of Mitchell's apple juice are progressing well.

It is available in 6 local retail outlets, and available direct from mitchellsjuice.co.uk.

Delivery is free within the TN15 post code area.

 

Come and try a free tasting of our apple juice at:

 

Plaxtol Homestyle and Produce Event at the Papermakers' Arms on Saturday 12th March 2011, 11am - 6pm.

 

In April, we will be taking part in the lauch of the HadLOW CARBON Initiative - which promotes local produce, on Saturday 16th April 2011, 10am - 2pm at the Old School Hall, Hadlow.

 

 

 
Winter pruning

 

Back in the autumn, the trees shed their leaves and went into dormancy.  This allows the trees to survive the cold, icy winter without damage to their delicate reproductive tissues because the fruit buds are tightly closed.

 

This is the ideal time for pruning, the job that occupies us for nearly five months every year.  We have two tractor-mounted pruning machines that use giant circular saws to cut and shape the trees. However most of the work is done by hand, using a variety of power-assisted cutting tools to cut through thick branches and reduce repetitive strain injury for the staff.  Working in all weathers, you can see our pruning staff working their way across every orchard as the winter progresses.  They are closely followed by the pulveriser, which chops the cut material into a fine mulch so that tractors can easily pass up the rows.

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Taking just two or three minutes per tree, they certainly make it look easy but pruning is a highly skilled task.  Take out too much and the tree reacts with excessively vigorous growth; take out too little and the crop will be small and poor quality.  The trees are contained to a regulation height in order for the pickers to be able to reach every fruit from the ground, since ladders are considered too dangerous in the modern orchard.

 

As we race through the pruning, we are all hoping for a “Normal” season, not beginning too early and not having any sharp frosts once the trees break their dormancy.

 
Apple Juice Launched

 

 Mitchell's apple juice has now been launched. 

 You will find it at:

 

Wells Greengrocers, Borough Green

Ightham Farm Shop

Plaxtol Stores

Chart Farm Shop, Seal Chart

Barden Stores, Tonbridge

Bakers Farm Shop, Otford Road, Sevenoaks

J & G Fruiterers, Hadlow

 

Contact us for a 12 x 1 ltr case

Delivered free within the TN15 area

www.mitchellsjuice.co.uk

 
National Fruit Show

Partners Robert and Helen visited the National Fruit Show in October, introducing the new company to the many trade exhibitors who were present.  We actually purchased one of the new tractors on the Haynes of Maidstone stand.  Seven old David Browns were traded in against a New Holland T3030 compact fruit tractor, which now takes pride of place in our fleet. 
 
Apple juice on its way

 

 

Apple picking is now completed and the first ever batch of Mitchell's apple juice is ready to be pressed. Ours is a special blend containing 25% Bramley and 75% dessert apples which will give a full-flavoured, balanced taste. 

 

The picture shows tree-ripened fruit being picked into bins, which are transported to the juice factory for pressing and bottling.

Our shiny new label will be unveiled very soon!

 
New look website

Our new look website is here!

Enjoy browsing, and we would appreciate any feedback.

 
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