Prince down on the farm for visit
WHISTLE-STOP TOUR: Charles takes close look at growing business
PRINCE Charles was in Aldington on Tuesday to visit a supplier of eggs and vegetables to his Clarence House home. Douglas Wanstall welcomed the Prince of Wales to his expanding enterprise at Bank Farm, where he was introduced to the growers, suppliers and customers.
AS a supplier of eggs and vegetables to Clarence House, Douglas Wanstall was delighted when the Prince of Wales expressed a wish to visit his expanding enterprise at Bank Farm, Aldington.
After being welcomed to the county by Viscount De L’Isle, Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Mr Wanstall introduced him to his family partners, wife Stephanie, parents Richard and Yvonne and uncle Geoff and Pauline Wanstall, before a whistle-stop tour of the diversification operation.
The Prince was introduced to the growers, suppliers and customers already converted to local produce marketed from the farm base.
It was a decade ago that Mr Wanstall convinced his family they needed to modernise the traditional farm enterprise and when the industry was at its low- est ebb they opted for expansion into what is now a 5,000 acre operation including two huge flocks of free range hens, combinable crops and a commercial shoot.
First stop for the Prince was the poultry unit where the system was explained by Rob Clayson and John Green before he moved into the packing sheds, that deal with up to 18,000 eggs a day, where he was briefed by manager Al Henderson and Jo Wells who manages quality control.
In the vegetable and fruit house that deals with the fresh produce from growers across county, he met manager Fannin and spoke with Penfold, who uses Bank produce for his ready meals.
He also briefly met Romn Marsh farmer Andrew Mart who explained his developme of bio diesel.
In a 16th century barn built part using ships’ timbers, he with many of those leading
campaign to convince the public of the benefits of sourcing quality food in the shortest time from field to plate.
They included farmer Tim Piper with his own meat production unit at Wittersham open to the public, tomato grower Brian Watts, Andrew Boxall soft fruits, Joanne McArthur of Mead Cakes, cheesemaker Robin Betts and fruit juice producer Colin Corfield.
Customers introduced included Eastwell Manor head chef Neil Wiggins, Richard Parsons from ASDA supermarket, and Sue Knevett from the National Trust, who all serve Bank Farm Produce.
Clearly impressed, the Prince spent time with each studying their products and discussing their operations before being introduced to backroom staff Ros Bowen-Nelman, Debbie Wilson, Debbie Huckstepp, Emma Melvin, Robin Parnell and Caroline Bunting.
Left: the Prince of Wales enjoys a joke on his visit to Bank Farm in Aldington Picture: Gary Browne
Prince Charles meeting farm workers and local producers
Meeting farm workers
Meeting the Wanstall family
The Prince of Wales discussing farming issues