Known as the “scientific fruit farmer” by his fellow workers, Peter Talbot’s devoted much of his life to experimental research in farming. Talbot was born on January 27 1937, in Sunderland. Fueled by a desire to enter agriculture and eventually farm, Talbot graduated from Leeds University with a BSc in agriculture. This was followed by a diploma in farm management from Seale Hayne College, Devon, in 1960.
Peter married in 1961 and moved to King’s Lynn where Mr Talbot worked for the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food at Terrington St Clement Experimental Farm carrying out research on tomatoes. Later, he was to move to Sprowston Research Station where he worked on sugar beet and arable experiments.
Over time, Mr Talbot specialised in growing apples, pears, blackcurrants, raspberries and arable, turning the farm into a profitable enterprise. In 1973 he became a director of the parent company S.W. Mount & Sons Ltd, then, in 1986 he took over as chair after the retirement of his father-in-law. During this time, he became a director of Norfolk Fruit Growers and Home Grown Fruits Ltd and chair of Treefresh Multiple Sales Ltd. This company developed the Ballerina Tree, a small vertical fruit tree suitable for patios. Its success resulted in the government selling it for £2m.
His family added: “He was a tireless worker and an enthusiastic talker late into the night, especially on the subject of politics. Above all he was a true friend, guide, mentor, and gentleman.”
Talbot died suddenly on December 28, 2020, aged 83. He left behind his wife, four children and seven grandchildren. A memorial service is now able to go ahead and will be held at St Mary’s Church in Tunstead on Saturday, August 27 at 2pm.