Grant will help grow new Juneberry tree - The Evesham Observer

Grant will help grow new Juneberry tree

Evesham Editorial 13th May, 2018   0

A PERSHORE firm which grows Juneberries, the first to do so in the UK, has been awarded a £5,300 grant to fund new fruit harvesting equipment.

The business was created in 2015 and with support from the town’s horticultural college, it imported 300 young Juneberry trees from Canada.

Juneberries are a unique fruit, as they look like a blueberry, but are most similar to an apple in their taste.

Pershore Juneberries, ran by Sophie Sidaway, has since gone on to become the first commercial grower of this unique fruit in the UK, benefitting greatly from their purchase of a bespoke berry harvester.

“Early harvests were possible picking berries by hand, but as yields grew, it was necessary to automate. We needed berry harvesting equipment but with the limited resources of a start-up, were looking for a match funding grant scheme,” she said.

“Since using the berry harvester, Pershore Juneberries has become much more efficient, fruit waste has been reduced, and ultimately our turnover has increased.”

“The business has gone from strength to strength, and much of their fruit is now sold to chefs in restaurants and hotels throughout the country via our distributors.”

The company benefitted from the LEADER grant programme, delivered by Worcestershire County Council, which is designed to help communities contribute to the local economy and help businesses to grow and create additional employment.

Grants already awarded range from between £2,500 to £20,000.

It’s part of the Rural Development Programme for England and is delivered locally by the County Council and the Worcestershire Local Action Group on behalf of Defra.

The focus of the scheme is on growing the economies of rural communities by enabling local people to identify and implement solutions to local problems.

The project has received funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development under the Rural Development Programme for England.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the Managing Authority for the Rural Development Programme for England.

Rural businesses and community groups have until May 25 to express their interest to receive funding from the programme.

After May the scheme will officially close and will remain closed, unless further funding becomes available.

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