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Ed Leahy

BY ED LEAHY

Brassicas planted early for NI growers

Gilfresh were able to recover form last year's nightmare conditions to sow brassica crops three weeks earlier in 2019

Brassicas planted early for NI growers

Gilfresh

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Gilfresh are planting brassicas three weeks earlier than 2018 following a temperate start to the year.

The Northern Ireland growers will be laying down new season kale, broccoli, savoy and sweetheart cabbage, destined for Asda shelves across the country from mid-June.

Last year’s “Beast from the East” cold snap pushed back the season for many growers as snow and wet weather prevented crops going into the ground, as well as killing many winter-grown crops.

Once planted, Gilfresh growers will cover the seedlings with fleece to ensure they stay warm and encourage growth ready for harvest in early summer.

The family run company, based in County Armagh, was founded by the Gilpins over 50 years ago, and operates across growing, packing and processing stages, supplying 25 product lines to Asda, including carrots, swedes and scallions (spring onions).

“On average in local season we supply over 5,000 cabbages, 13,000 heads of broccoli, 2,500 swedes and 17 tonnes of carrots to Asda each week. We have a great working relationship with the team there and we’re delighted to bring new season products to Asda customers earlier this year,” said Gilsfresh’s Danielle Mitchell.

“We know Asda shoppers are fervent supporters of Northern Ireland’s agricultural industry and buying locally sourced produce. They are also sensitive to the environmental challenges growers face on issues such as climate change and food miles, which is an ethos shared by Asda.”

Billy Clelland, quality manager of Asda NI added: “We have excellent working relationships with some of the best growers and suppliers across Northern Ireland – and Gilfresh is a perfect example of this. It’s fantastic to have the promise of great-tasting locally grown produce from Gilfresh on shelves even earlier this year for our customers to enjoy.”

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