Anthony Snell from AJ & CI Snell at Windmill Hill, Harewood End, Hereford scooped the prestigious prize of Soft Fruit Grower of the Year at the Grower of the Year Awards at the Lancaster Hotel in London on Wednesday 20th March.
The award, presented by Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay, is the second time Mr. Snell has won in five years, as he previously won the prize in 2008. Anthony was one of two Berry Gardens' growers placed in the top two positions. The first time this has ever happened at the awards.
Anthony was genuinely surprised to win the award against strong competition, including fellow Berry Gardens' grower Paul Kelsey from Quaives Farm in Kent. Paul gained a Highly Commended on the evening for his farm.
Speaking of his triumph at the awards Anthony said, "We are delighted with the win, especially knowing the quality of Paul's produce. We feel privileged to have won the award for a second time. It's a testament to the very hard working team we have at Windmill Hill and the support we have received from our marketing company, Berry Gardens, who have helped develop the soft fruit industry beyond recognition in the past decade."
Anthony also attributes his success to involving the local community at the farm. "We work closely with local schools and feel it is important to help educate the next generation to understand life in the countryside." He said.
Anthony believes the fertile soils of Herefordshire are also one of the primary factors in their success, which he claims to be some of the best soil in the country. Now Anthony is looking forward to the year ahead and hoping for resumption to a normal weather pattern.
"The past year has been particularly challenging from a growing point of view. I think we all want a return to the English summer - a little bit of sunshine."
A statement all growers across the country can agree with.