Salad and vegetable giant G’s has officially opened a major mushroom facility established to supply direct to Tesco and create 300 jobs.
The facility, named May Farm and located in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, produces 165 tonnes of mushrooms a week and has helped reduce Tesco’s reliance on mushroom imports.
It was opened last week by Tesco’s commercial director for fresh, Matt Simister, who hailed it as a “fantastic example” of a long-term and strong relationship with a key supplier.
“We have worked with G’s for over 35 years and throughout this time we have been striving to provide customers with the best possible quality British produce, at the best possible price,” he said.
“This new facility is a fantastic example of how building and maintaining strong, open and honest partnerships with our growers, we can deliver and innovate for customers and help to create a sustainable future for British agriculture.”
Managing director of G’s Growers, Peter Sargeant, said: ‘The evolution of May Farm is a fine example of a positive collaboration between G’s Growers and Tesco’s.
“The outcome is the creation of a facility that delivers long term sustainability within mushroom growing, whilst integrating with the wider agricultural activities of G’s Growers in the East Anglia region.”
May Farm was established in 2012 with 12 growing tunnels, and has since expanded to include 48 tunnels and a purpose-built cold storage, packing and distribution area, which was completed this year.
It was built in partnership with Tesco and is described as the second-largest mushroom farm in the UK. With a packhouse area oversized to cater for possible future expansion, all electricity and hot water at the site is supplied by an AD plant, which is partly fed by waste vegetables.
In addition, a water recycling system will be operational during 2015 to minimise environmental impact
The farm itself is four layers high, designed to reduce working at height risks to staff and improve future mechanisation possibilities, a statement said. Other modern features include triple filtering to mushroom spore level to reduce the need for steam sterilisation.
Growing, harvesting and packing will take place 52-weeks-a-year, with each tunnel producing 21 tonnes of mushrooms every six weeks.