How we grow
Different methods of producing berries give us a competitive advantage.
Glasshouse growing is farming at its most high-tech. Being fully protected from the outside elements enables growers to design and manage every aspect of a plant’s life.
Precise control over nutrients, water, temperature, humidity, CO2 and light means we can grow high yielding crops in times of the year where outdoor crops are unable to produce fruit. This level of control is achieved through automated climate software, programmed by our growing team, allowing for an extremely detail-orientated approach to growing.
Currently we have the equivalent of 46 football pitches worth of glasshouses, producing over 2,000 tonnes of fruit from early March until the end of December. And we are always looking for ways we innovate to improve our output.
Right now we are working on projects relating to heating efficiency, and a re-design of our lighting systems will allow our glasshouses to simulate any environment of any country at any time of the year. This will enable us to produce locally-grown fruit even throughout the winter, when the country would otherwise rely on imported fruit.
Polytunnels and outdoors
The process of growing berries is the same both in the field and glasshouse in terms of detailed fertigation, integrated pest management strategies and husbandry. However, control of climate and temperature is more challenging outdoors.
Our polytunnels provide protection and an uplift in temperature, as well as climate control, which means that in the UK we are able to produce fruit earlier compared to outdoor crops. The impact of cold weather is a huge risk to field crops, so we need to be prepared with frost protection methods across our sites to mitigate the impact of cold spells. Physically managing the position of the polytunnels and doors is carried out by our tunnel teams and involves many people.
In Portugal, tunnels help protecting the crops against high temperatures and the impact of sunlight, creating a barrier against intense solar radiation.
We are continually investigating new varieties of berries that will thrive in UK and Portugal polytunnel growing conditions, produce the highest yields, are the most resistant to pest and disease, and suit the market.
Find out more about our innovation