It takes a lot of expertise, skill and love to grow great tasting vegetables!Whether it's brassicas like cavolo nero, kale and spinach, or leeks (a member of the allium family), our team combine the best of traditional farming methods with modern technology, to grow quality fresh produce for you to enjoy. Read on below to find out how our farmer Nigel and his team grow your favourite vegetables.
Nigel and this team are responsible for growing around 40 hectares of cavolo nero in Lincolnshire each year. The soil here is extremely moisture-retentive and rich in important minerals, making it some of the best soil in Britain.The cavolo nero story begins with tiny seeds that are raised in large greenhouses, then when they are strong enough they are planted one by one in rows in the ground, using a semi-automated planter. To ensure that the British crop is available for as long as possible, Nigel will be planting cavolo nero from May (depending on the weather) until July or August. They will then finish harvesting the British crop in early Spring the following year.
Leeks like plenty of rain and good soil – which is why they thrive here in Lincolnshire, where we grow around 8,500 tonnes of leeks a year – that is about 50 million leeks! The start of the leek growing season is from Mid March (when the soil has warmed up a little after the winter) when we plant both seeds and young plants. This ensures a continuous supply of leeks – as it takes up to 20 weeks for leeks to grow and be ready for harvesting – which begins in September.We plant the leeks by hand, but the harvesting is done using a rig that is 35 metres wide and weighs 40 tonnes. We have a team of 35 people working on each rig!
Every year our team manage their kale crop in Lincolnshire, where the rich soil is particularly suited for growing brassicas.The planting begins in Lincolnshire in early Spring and continues through to the summer, to help ensure a continuous supply of British grown kale. It takes around two months from planting until the kale is ready for harvesting which is done using a state of the art harvesterLooking after the soil is the responsibility of the agronomist, whose role is also to make sure that the kale plants are kept healthy.
Like most brassicas, spinach thrives in rich soil, like that found in Lincolnshire. But whilst Spinach is mostly grown in Britain, in the colder months it is grown by British farmers in Spain, to ensure that there is a year-round supply of this popular vegetable. Spinach can take from 28 to 85 days between sowing and harvesting. Spinach seeds are sown several times a week so customers can continue to enjoy spinach whatever the season.The spinach is washed to remove soil and grit before it is packed ready for you to enjoy.
Farmers work hard to care, not just for the crop itself, but also for the environment and the wildlife that live on the farm too.Our vegetables are all grown to LEAF Marque certification, a sustainable farming assurance scheme that shows people they are purchasing produce grown to the highest environmental standards.Advances in technology mean we can be even more efficient with what we do. For example we use GPS on our tractors to ensure the leeks are grown in perfectly straight lines and it also helps monitor the quality of the soil, a vital part of the process.