Caroline graduated with an honours degree in horticulture from Writtle College in 2002 and joined Edward Vinson Limited as a manager for one of its propagation sites. In 2004, she joined Highland Court Farm, as part of the Quality Control team, both monitoring quality in the Packhouse and out in the field, becoming QC manager, before leaving in 2006 to join Worldwide Fruit as a Quality Technologist and progressing to UK Grower Liaison, assisting growers with quality requirements pre and post harvest, along with new variety development work.
Caroline moved to Avalon Growers Producer Organisation in 2019 where she is currently the General Manager for the PO, being involved in day-to-day operations and supporting the growers in the group.
Christopher Atkinson graduated from University of London with a First in Applied Biology, studying for his PhD at the University of Wales. He has held postdoctoral positions with the University of Wales; Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Virginia, USA. He is also a Visiting Scholar, Stanford University, California, USA. and a Research Fellow at Lancaster University, UK. Currently Head of Science and Executive Member of East Malling Research’s Science Management Team, his current work is directed at the health benefits of fruit consumption, particularly with respect to agronomic ways to enhance bioactive compounds.
Dr Jonathan Blackman is a graduate of Wye College, University of London and studied for his DPhil at the University of Sussex. After nearly 10 years working for ADAS as a Soil Scientist and as a research scientist at Rosemaund in Herefordshire, he has since 1999, worked in the West Midlands as a BASIS and FACTS qualified Fruit and Hops Agronomist, currently with Hutchinsons. He is Secretary of the Herefordshire Hop Discussion Group, Steward of the Commercial Apple and Pear classes at the Malvern Autumn Show and is a member of the Marden Fruit Show Society General Committee.
Emma Easton joined EMR in 1990 and since then has had a variety of posts starting with horticultural work in the Glasshouse section, then project costing/environmental computer controls in the same section. She is currently involved in experimental costing and specific commercial projects; liaising with scientists; record keeping and Quality Assurance for the Glasshouses and Commercial Farm. Emma also assists in looking after casual staff and is heavily involved in Plant Health introductions and exports.
Richard Gaskin started his career as an agricultural apprentice with Rickards Farms then studied at Hadlow College before returning to Rickards Farms for a total of seven years. That was followed by two years with Safeway, nine years with Chingford Fruit Packers, two years with AV Ltd and a year with Dunand. For the past 12 years he has run and developed Techno Fresh Consultancy Ltd, acting as technical consultants to smaller suppliers to the multiple retailers as well as providing third-party quality control and independent surveys for
overseas senders and UK receivers.
John graduated from Wye College in 1984 with a BSc (Hons) in Plant Sciences. He worked in a farm management capacity for growers of outdoor salads and vegetable crops before joining FAST in 1989 and has specialised in soft fruit since August of that year. John is a director and senior soft fruit advisor at FAST Ltd
Graduated from Hadlow College in 1995 with ND (Agriculture) and ANCH (Horticulture). From 1996-2000 he worked in the ADAS fruit team, where he specialised in fruit storage and qualified as an Agronomist achieving both BASIS and FACTS qualifications. In 2000-2003 he worked as an Agronomist and fruit storage specialist for Hutchinsons before joining Norman Collett Ltd in 2003. Nigel is currently Technical Director of Norman Collett Ltd, where he continues his work in agronomy and fruit storage.
After studying Biochemistry and London University (RHC), Philip’s initial career was within the Pharmaceutical Industry in a research department carrying out advanced analytical techniques. He then joined the family business in the technical department, developing the scientific aims of the business with laboratory and manufacturing accreditation. He has been involved with the development of the Science side of the company, and been on panels at Leatherhead Food Research, Campden Research Association, and Technical Committees of the FDF. Philip is also a member of I.F.S.T.
Jim graduated (Honours Agriculture) from the University of Wales in 1959 and followed this with a Ph D (Plant Physiology) in 1962. He joined East Malling Research Station Plant Physiology Department in 1962 to research the chemical control of plant development. Jim transferred to the East Malling Pomology Department in 1978 and became Head of Department in 1982. Following retirement from EMRS Jim was appointed Director of The East Malling Trust for Horticultural Research (1996-2004). Currently he is Scientific Advisor to the HDC and East Malling Trust. Voluntary work includes that for the RHS (member of the RHS Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee) and for the National Trust.
After studying fruit production at Hadlow College, Chris worked on fruit farms in West Kent before moving east to manage orchards at Edward Vinson Ltd. He was a farm manager at Vinson’s for 12 years, served on the Apple and Pear Research Council for 5 years, and later specialised in labour productivity. He is currently COO at Asplins PO Ltd.
Charnee has been with Worldwide Fruit for over six years. Responsibilities include coordinating store monitoring assessments, managing the new variety trial orchard with over 100 new varieties currently under test licence and assisting the development of exciting new varieties such as Kissabel©, Ladina and Monalisa.
Charnee is currently completing a MSc in Food Security with the University of Lancaster.
Jack joined the technical team at Avalon FRESH Limited as a trials development officer in 2015, initially assisting in the storage season with maturity testing and store monitoring. In 2017 Jack then went to work at East Malling Research as part of a project Avalon were working on. When returning to Avalon Jack was introduced to Agronomy, obtaining his BASIS qualification in 2022.
After studying Agriculture at Hadlow College, Ryan obtained a three year apprenticeship at Avalon FRESH learning all aspects of top fruit growing and storage. Ryan went on to complete his BASIS qualification in 2017 and currently provides agronomic advice to top fruit growers in the UK.
Richard studied Human Geography and Economics at Loughborough University of Technology and then a Post Graduate diploma in Topographic Science at Swansea University.
Richard began his career in the top fruit sector in 1988 and worked as part of the fruit team at Pump Farm growing apples and pears. He has held a number of other senior roles across the industry and he is now the Technical Manager at Avalon Fresh / AMT Fresh.
Gary Saunders graduated from Wye college with a BSc (Hons) in Commercial Horticulture and a MPhil in Soil Science. He has achieved both BASIS and FACTS qualifications and then went on to complete the BASIS Diploma and the Harper Adams Graduate Diploma in Agronomy with Environmental Management.
His career began at Brogdale Experimental Horticulture Station (MAFF) and he went on to roles at Edward Vinson Plants, Fast and East Malling Research. He has currently been working for the last nine years as a fruit agronomist with Agrii.
He is also a current member of the RHS Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee.
Apple and Pear Classes