An extended domestic season and better overall quality are the key benefits of a recently-built onion store, according to one member of the farmers’ cooperative Greenshoots.
Marc Heading is one of the five members of the production and marketing group, which supplies 20,000 tonnes of onions a year to vegetable giant Produce World.
The Cambridgeshire grower believes the multi-million pound investment in the store in Chatteris in the county marks a big step forward for the group.
He said: “We had been supplying out of bulk stores on-farm and many of these needed updating. We want to continue to grow and develop our business, and we saw an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art facility on the doorstep of Produce World’s factory at Chatteris, which we decided to grasp with both hands.
Heading added: “The store we have built gives us the best drying facilities, the best refrigeration, and the most efficient insulation.
“The result is that we can store and transport our onions more efficiently. This store should extend the season for UK onions by at least three weeks, which will reduce the need for imports. It will also improve the quality of onions going into the factory.”
The new store is capable of holding around 6,500t – the equivalent of 6.5 million kg bags – which is around a third of the cooperative’s total onion production. Roughly 60 per cent of the onions stored are brown and 40 per cent red.
Members of the Greenshoots cooperative have been working with Produce World for up to twenty-five years.
Matt Starbuck of Produce World said: “Greenshoots are a key partner for us and we are delighted that they have chosen to build this store next to our factory at Chatteris. It will help to ensure continuity of supply and contribute towards our continuing quest for the best possible service and product quality.”