A fruit grower which supplies more than one in every five apples sold in the UK has taken over eight farms in the county.
AC Goatham & Son, which processes crops at a packing facility near Hoo, confirmed the sites are in Medway and Swale.
It has also acquired the East Kent Storage facilty in Faversham, a giant refrigerated warehouse previously owned by Mansfields Farming Group.
The deals mean AC Goatham farms 2,650 acres of orchards, growing 12 varieties of apples and three varieties of pears.
The company aims to have planted two million new fruit trees by 2020.
It opened a £10 million cold store and packing facility at its headquarters last year.
Managing director Ross Goatham confirmed the new land was close to its existing farms.
He said: “Over the last year, we have seen a significant interest from British consumers for British grown top fruit.
“We are continuously working with our partner growers and customers towards providing a secure and sustainable supply for the future.
“This will be done by securing more orchard sites and over time replanting on new and more efficient growing systems.”
Mr Goatham said this year’s harvest was “progressing well” despite a “difficult growing season”.
The firm aims to have finished picking fruit by the end of October, having started the harvest early.
Credit to: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/county-news/ac-goatham–son-buys-eight-farms-medway-swale-east-kent-cold-storage-faversham-132855/