Welcome to the Mansfields blog!
This blog is created with the idea of keeping you up to date with all the news from Mansfields for the 2007 season including what we are doing on the farms and plans for future developments; we will be following the progress of the fruit we grow, what is being picked and is in season and provide you with tips on fruit quality and how to find the best fruit on the shelf.
We trust you find the information of interest and please feel free to browse through our pages.

New Website

Please visit our new website at www.mansfields.net

Plum blossom

Some of our plums have blossomed a week earlier, hopefully we will be spared from severe frosts and cold northerly winds

Crop and Weather Summary


The month divided into three roughly equal parts - an unsettled period for about the first third of the month, followed by a generally anticyclonic spell and further unsettled weather for the remainder of the month. Rainfall across the UK generally close to average, some parts of eastern England received less than half the normal amount for the month- averaged over England and Wales, the month's total of 83mm which was 15% below average. As for the temperature, the cold spell mid-month roughly balanced with the milder periods early and late. As a result, December 2007 (like November) was generally colder than that of 2006 but warmer than that of 2005.

All crops are in dormant stages. Pruning of pears nearly completed, apples well on the way and 90% of all Stone Fruit has been now pruned.
Soft fruit sites dormant general tidy up of damaged tunnels.

Crop and Weather Summary

November was a generally quiet month, generally more anticyclonic than a 'normal' November but with a couple of notable unsettled periods either side of mid-month with mean temperatures ranging from close to average across part of Kent. The month began with several warm days, but from the 12th onwards the weather was often rather cold with widespread night frosts. Most parts of England and Wales were less than 0.5°C warmer than average and much of November was dry but there was one very wet spell between the 17th and 21st, and rain also fell widely on the 30th. Averaged over England and Wales, the month's total rainfall was 74mm which was 27 per cent below the average.

All crops have now been harvested, and we finished picking Braeburn last week in November.
We are now in the post harvest stage, where replanting and clearing up will take place over the next few months. All Top Fruit crops will now be pruned

English Braeburn apples

English Braeburn – a variety once thought impossible to grow in the cold English climate, has proven very successful and is producing higher volumes year on year. Few years ago Paul Mansfield saw the potential in growing English Braeburn and now with 162,837 trees in the ground on over 185 acres, he is one of the biggest Braeburn growers in UK. Braeburn is a first class desert apple which has a unique combination of sweet and tart flavour. It is believed to have been discovered as a chance seedling in New Zealand in 1950s, possibly a cross between Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton apples. It is thought that its name probably comes from the Braeburn Orchards, where it was first grown commercially. The texture of the Braeburn is crisp, firm (without being too hard), and juicy- it snaps cleanly with every bite, realising a rich apple flavour- refreshing and sharp with a good balance of sweetness. It is a late season apple picked in late October until mid November and has a long storage life. It is great for snacks and salads, its eating qualities make it adaptable for cooking as well as fresh use. The future of the English Braeburn looks even brighter as over the next few years more and more will become available. As reported earlier this season we were very excited and looking forward to a bumper crop because of the warm spring and the wet summer but unfortunately on few of our sites we are hit by heavy hail destroying 20% of our crop. Nevertheless the picking of the Braeburn has begun in full swing and they will be available on the shop shelves later on this year.
This year our BBN production is estimated to be 170 thousand cases, with Paul Mansfield is the largest single man grown in UK

Crop and Weather Summary

October 2007

It was a very quiet October across England with high pressure dominant for much of the month. However, brief spells of unsettled weather brought some heavy rain locally. Mean temperatures were close to average and rainfall generally well below average across the England.
We continue to pick apples all this month; the late season apple varieties Jazz and Braeburn are ready to be picked. We are also picking apples for juice and tidying up the orchards as well as pruning our plum and cherry trees.

The English Empire

Some of the finest fruit in the world is grown in English orchards and you can get your hands on some of the tastiest apples- sweet or sharp, crunchy or light-textured flesh, red, green yellow and anything in between- just take your pick. One exciting variety we grow in our orchards is the English Empire and Paul Mansfield was the first to plant Empire apple trees in this country in 1998 on a small plot of 2 acres at Middle Pett Farm, near Canterbury. Empire is North American bred variety, cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh, it was first referenced in 1945 but was officially introduced to the world in 1966, after over two decades of careful evaluation. The colour of the Empire is deep maroon-red, over a light green background, with a very crisp, creamy white flesh, and very distinctive flavour with delicious hint of melon or pineapple or elderflower, sometimes even described as “vinous”.
Growing Empire has proven a successful enterprise, the production has expanded and Mansfields have invested in 61,000 trees on 74 acres spread across five different sites, Paul is the only commercial grower of Empire in the UK, and this year our Empire production is expected to be circa 50 thousand cases, thus making Paul Mansfield the largest single man grower in the UK. The English Empire is ready to be picked in September and October, and it already available to the customers. Empire is especially loved by kids and it is great snack for their lunch boxes.

Jazzing up the English fruit trade to the core

Whether or not you are an apple lover, whether you chose more traditional or favour something new, it is almost certain that Jazz™ apple will shake your perceived conception of how an apple should taste. With its dense, full of crunch texture and unique aromatic zing flavour the English Jazz will be music to your senses.
Jazz™ is a very modern apple variety, developed in New Zealand in the mid 1980s. The variety results from a selection among a population of seedlings derived from crossing between two major apple varieties- Braeburn and Gala. It is one of the most exciting new apple varieties and it has been grown in the UK since 2004. Paul Mansfield is the largest producer of English Jazz, and has put over £1 million investment into growing the variety already. This year the first commercial crop is being picked with expected production of around 20,000 cases.
The fruit of this new apple variety has an attractive appearance characterised by its distinctive bright red colouration and is notable for its excellent eating quality post-storage. It has a superb sweet and tangy flavour, succulent and exceptionally crisp texture and clean shiny appearance- it has become a winner in numerous consumer tasting surveys. It is a late season apple, being ready to pick in early to mid October.

Did you know?

Jazz is the brand name for the variety Scifresh

Jimmy's Farm at Mansfields

Jimmy Doherty

Jimmy Doherty from the BBC documentary series “Jimmy’s Farm” filming at Nickle Farm

Crop and Weather Summary

September 2007
The quiet, dry weather of late-August continued for the first three weeks of September, becoming more unsettled by late September with rain at times, coupled with an active cold front crossing the country towards the end of the month. Much of the last week was notably cool, with winds from the northwest and north much more frequent than usual, and overall this was the seventh most 'northerly' September in 135 years of records. Mean temperatures were generally close to, or slightly above average, and rainfall was generally close to or below average
September is our main period of apple picking, causing it to be a very busy month at Mansfields- 70% of the crop is picked during September. It takes a lot of team effort and planning to ensure timely picking, transporting and storage of thousands of tonnes of fruit within a very limited time scale. The quality of the fruit is very good and the volumes are big. Also in September our last plum variety of the season, Marjorie, was picked, whilst strawberries continue to produce high volumes.
BBC MasterChef presenter Gregg Wallace and Paul Mansfield are enjoying some of our Jazz apples at Home Farm

Crop and Weather Summary

August 2007

August was a quiet month, it was largely settled at first and for the last week, but more unsettled around mid-month, with few thunderstorms but no repeat of the widespread downpours which characterised June and July. Mean temperatures generally close to average with most areas having their coldest August for over 10 years, with England having its coldest August since 1993. Averaged over England and Wales, the month's rainfall total of 61mm was 16 per cent below the long-term average.
In August we finished picking Reeves and Victoria plums, and started Marjorie’s- the plum season was good with good volumes. The crop quality and size was good because of all the rain as well as the thinning that took place earlier. We have started Conference pear, Discovery and Bramley apple picking a week earlier this season. Strawberries are also going very well.