2019 has been a memorable year for Elsoms, as the company celebrated reaching a milestone 175 years’ in business. It’s also been a memorable year for Sue Kennedy, whose last day working for Elsoms before retirement is December 20th.
Sue began her career at Elsoms in 1991 working as a Lab Assistant for the breeding team. Sue’s hard work and commitment over many years paid off and she rose to become Head of Elsoms’ R&D function, overseeing all vegetable breeding, seed production and trials activities. Sue has worked on a huge and diverse range of crops as part of her work, and is responsible for some of the biggest vegetable varieties in the UK market include leading varieties of parsnip, swede, Brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli.
Looking back over such a distinguished career, Sue said “The thing that I’m most proud of is being able to walk into a supermarket, look at the shelves, and see a whole range of different varieties that we’ve created out of years of breeding work”.
Breeding new varieties takes many years of dedicated commitment and new vegetables resulting from Sue’s work over decades are currently being introduced into retailers in 2019. Developed together with Elsoms’ Dutch partners Bejo, this year Sue was able to see the launch of Burgundy Broccoli, the world’s first whole-head purple broccoli.
“If asked to identify one star achievement, it would have to be Burgundy Broccoli” said Sue. “By having such a close relationship with key growers we were able to develop an outstandingly good, and highly novel variety”. “We’ve been able to completely change the economics of purple sprouting broccoli production and I’m very excited to see how far it will develop in the future”
Over the past eight years, Sue has worked closely with Dr Richard Tudor since he joined Elsoms. Richard has now taken over responsibility for Elsoms’ vegetable breeding department, and Sue has shared all of her knowledge, skills and experience with him and the rest of the breeding team to ensure the continued success of the programmes.
“Working with Sue has been truly inspirational” said Richard. “I’ve learned so much from Sue, and in particular how to translate technical plant biology, genetics and trials expertise into commercial success for growers”.
Everyone at Elsoms wishes Sue the best of luck and an incredibly enjoyable retirement.