Charlie Fermor

Perry Court Farm, Kent

CHARLIE Fermor is not your average innovator.

His ethos that whatever the farm produces should be own-grown has helped the business spiral through success after success, despite being completely self-funded.

The journey to Perry Court Farm’s focus entirely on fruit and vegetable drying for healthy crisps, manufacturing children’s snacks, and producing ingredients for other companies stemmed from a surplus of apples on farm and the worry of waste.

The business sees most of its ingredients go to produce fruit bars, and other fruit that does not make specification goes into the production of fruit pastes.

The farm has recently put a new patent on own-grown fruit pastes – a healthy sugar replacement for use as an ingredient in the bakery and snack sector. But having very rarely come across a machine that will do the job in task, Charlie and his staff have to make their own.

He says: “We have to push the innovation and be quick about it. The farm has come a long way.”


And the recognition of upcoming trends has helped the brand expand. Charlie says: “We are working on the next trends. It is vegan everything but people are buying it.

“We are always looking for the next big thing.”

As well as curbing his own farm waste, Charlie is helping other local start-ups reduce waste along the food chain and the business became the first fresh food producer in the country to use compostable packaging.

The farm has however faced its challenges. “Planning what fruit you need in the future is risky,” Charlie says.

He is looking at the possibility of an automated factory to meet the business’s demand for high-quality staff, as well as a new project for youngsters to offer a free farm experience and tour.

Charlie says: “We are getting less horticulture staff and the quality of those staff is going down so whatever we can do to decrease that labour need is good in the long-run.”

The judges said about Charlie: the judges praised Charlie’s initiative and forward thinking, he had stayed in touch with the farm roots, whilst integrating the farm into business. They were impressed with the way he considers trends including children and vegans, minimised food waste and make efforts to educate the public.

On winning, Charlie said: I am shocked to have won this award. It has been such a busy year and we have worked so hard so to win this is just amazing. This is the first time we have entered any awards or been to anything like this and I have met so many great farmers who are working together to change the future of our industry. The pace of life is so fast and I truly believe the opportunities for UK agriculture are only going to increase. British agriculture is on the up.