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Grower behind spinach pillow pack passes away

Thames Valley producer John Emmett designed spinach packaging we use today and was instrumental in popularising calabrese in UK

Grower behind spinach pillow pack passes away

John Emmett

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The well-known and highly respected Thames Valley vegetable and salad grower John Emmett has died after a long illness.

His family’s fresh produce business W Emmett & Son was originally sited between Maidenhead and Windsor in Berkshire, and Emmett took over the business from his father Jack who ran a traditional market garden.

He was one of the first UK growers to appreciate the importance of supplying supermarkets and soon installed vacuum-cooling facilities as cold chain became a fundamental requirement for supplying the multiples.

In salads, he specialised in growing lettuce and spinach, and is accredited with having designed and developed the pillow-pack for spinach, which is still in use today.

Emmett also grew a wide range of brassicas and was instrumental in popularising calabrese in the UK. As his supermarket customers demanded year-round supply of produce, he began growing crops in Spain during the winter months thus enabling the company to provide continuity of supply twelve months of the year.

More recently, Emmett started growing a range of fresh herbs from a new farm in Surrey, setting up one of the UK’s leading herb suppliers, Herbfresh.

Emmett leaves his wife Helen, daughter Lucy, son Ben, granddaughter India, brother William and sisters Elizabeth and Caroline.

A memorial service for the respected producer will take place at St Michael’s church, Bray, on Friday 7 December at 12.30pm.

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