Our first partner abroad was with Jacques Guepratte, with whom we are partners in the French Soft Fruit marketing company “SARL Normandy Fruits”. At that time the company handled all the procurements and logistics in France. Soon after this co-operation began, one of the main growers of Blueberries in France decided to retire, and we purchased his Blueberry Farm.
The company “SARL Anjou Myrtilles” became a joint venture between Jacques and Stephen, and has proved to be a great success, and consistently produces around 400 tonnes of Blueberries per annum. Most of the fruit produced is packed at the Winterwood Packhouse and marketed through Berryworld Ltd. Anjou Myrtilles has also now diversified into Raspberries and currently produces about 50 tonnes, destined for France and the rest of Europe. Blackberries, Redcurrants and Blackcurrants are also produced.
In 2005, Anjou Myrtilles further expanded its operations with the purchase of the farming assets of the company “France Myrtilles”. This has added a further 400 tonnes to fresh fruit to the years availability and both ares of ground will be farmed together under the Anjou Myrtilles name. The combined area now therefore produces over 400 tonnes of Blueberries per annum, mostly dedicated to the UK market.
This is produced from under 15ha of productive area, which makes it one of the most productive commercial Blueberry unit per ha in the world – unless you tell us different! A further 10ha of early Blueberries was planted in 2007, and this started to come on stream in 2009. The farm is managed by Jacques son Rodolphe, with assistance from Donatien.
Anjou Myrtilles is now the largest grower of Blueberries in France.